Mary Leigh

Schofield, Ada1910

Museum of London

Museum of London
London, United Kingdom

Postcard with photographic portrait of Mary Leigh. On the back of the card is handwritten 'God Bless Little Paul & Little Paul's dear Mother and Father, 1910, Mary L.'. The card may have been sent to Paul Lamartine Yates, the son of Rose Lamartine Yates, a close friend of Mary Leigh's who was also a Suffragette.
Mary was married to a builder and served her first term of imprisonment in March 1907 for taking part in a deputation to the House of Commons. On 30th June 1908, enraged by witnessing 'violence and indeceny' inficted on Suffragettes by the police in Parliament Square, Mary and Edith New went to 10 Downing Street and threw stones at a window, this being the first act of physical militancy carried out by Suffragettes. Imprisoned a third time in 1908 for taking part in the rush on the House of Commons Leigh spent more than six months of the year in Holloway. From 1909 Mary was drum-major of the WSPU drum and fife band. She continued to undertake militant acts and was repeatedly imprisoned between 1909-1912. In 1909, whilst serving a term of imprisonment in Winson Green for throwing slates from the roof of a hall in Birmingham in which Asquith was speaking, Mary became one of the first Suffragettes to be force-fed. In July 1912 Mary pursued Asquith to Dublin and set fire to a box at the Theatre Royal. Sentenced to five years penal servitude for this offence, she was released on a 'ticket of leave' on 21st September only to take part in the WSPU window-smashing campaign in November.
The portrait of Mary was taken by Ada Schofield, a Brighton photographer and Suffragette.


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