Thursday 11 July 2013

Beamish Suffragette Celebrations Pt2

Hi again.

When you last accompanied me on our trip around Beamish open-air museum's Suffragette Celebrations we were waiting to take part in the re-enactment of the funeral of Emily Wilding Davison weren't we? 
Everyone at the museum was welcome to gather near the railway station to join in the procession:
And members of the general public could  mingle with the various people in the costume of the early 1900s who were waiting to follow the coffin:
The original old steam train pulled into the station and the coffin was transported to a horse drawn carriage [even knowing full well there was no one inside, it still felt like a sombre occasion].
We watched the spectacle go by for a while:

And then we joined the procession and followed on behind ...
... all the way through the grounds of the museum, along the tramway ... and into the Pit Village where the coffin was taken into the chapel and where someone [I didn't catch who the lady was] gave a wonderful speech about the legacy of the suffragettes and how fighting for equality for all is still something we need to do today, right across the world.

And then the Sweet Magenta choir sang in the street:
... then continued their performance inside the chapel:
Their performance was really moving and I had to fight back tears for much of it! [Definitely swept up in the drama of the day!]

And what a day it was ... ice-cream cornets in the morning .... suffragette funeral in the afternoon. Certainly one of life's memorable moments!

One of the most striking things to me about the day was how the whole event was a re-enactment of historical event of which women were the main protagonists.

Our culture produces a lot of films and documentaries [and outdoor re-enactments] of the events of World Wars 1 + 2, events which mainly focus on the actions of men. Event which of course have their place and of course there were [and are] women who were active in and vital to some of those war time events.

But Beamish's Suffragette Celebrations felt unique in being a wonderful, respectful and serious, recreation of a cause that was focused around and led by women.

And it made a nice change.

A positive change.


 I don't usually blog so many posts, so close together, all about one thing, but I thought you might enjoy a good look at this unusual day out!

See you soon.



  1. Julie I have really enjoyed reading about your 'adventures in the past'. It is something I would loved to have been able to go along to in Beamish - I have fond memories of visits with my family when they were small - (though that thought brought a lump to my throat - sorry - not your fault)anyway, I digress - I just wanted to say - I have been using your Plundered Pages - maps and foreign language text, in the current online workshop I am taking and have posted pictures on my blog
    Thought you might like to see how they have been used. J x

  2. I recently had a ...heated discussion with someone about women's suffrage and how important it is even today to continue the struggle for equality. It was a young man who said that women are allowed to be equal these days......... he just could not understand how that one word made him a hypocrite ~sigh~ I have polished up the old soapbox and I am preparing to use it.

  3. Have enjoyed seeing and hearing about your day out. A friend asked on FB the other day if anyone could recommend Beamish so I said it looked good on your blog!

  4. Hopefully I will get back to Beamish one day soon, it is a lovely place and what a fab event to put on.

    I despair with some of my young nieces who don't use their vote (can't be bothered) - they just don't understand how precious that vote is and how it wasn't that long ago that we didn't have the right to vote.

    Thanks for sharing with us x

  5. We have been talking a lot these past weeks of the work of the suffragettes and my son has been learning about them at school. great post x

  6. I very much enjoyed the posts, I am always seeing things like this I want to attend but then when I look at the calendar the date is already claimed :<

  7. So agree that often only the male experiences are put forward, I've enjoyed seeing women's experiences and interests (beyond cooking and handicrafts.... much as I like both) being investigated and celebrated. Thank you for this. I've put Beamish onto my list for 'if we ever get that far north again' ;)


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