November 17, 2022

Local suffragette relative visits school

Pupils in Year 6 enjoyed an educational visit from Peter Barrett, the great grandson of Alice Hawkins, this term. Peter talked about her life and her campaigning as part of the children’s curriculum learning and understanding of fundamental British values. 

During her lifetime Alice campaigned for the rights of women, and led the suffragette movement in Leicester! In 1907 she was arrested for disorderly conduct at the gates of the House of Commons and given fourteen days in Holloway jail with twenty-eight other women, including the Pankhursts. In 1911 she was given another fourteen days for breaking windows at the Home Office.  

In 2018 a statue was erected in Green Dragon Square, Leicester to honour and recognise her achievements in fighting for women’s rights. 

Not all of her campaigning led to spells of imprisonment. As an example, in 1908 she was invited to speak at a major suffragette rally in Hyde Park which was attended by between 300,000 and 500,000 men and women. She met with David Lloyd-George at Parliament in 1913 alongside other women to put across their argument as to why working-class women demanded the right to vote. 

Her time as a suffragette came to an end with the outbreak of the First World War. She died in 1946, aged eighty-three. 

A century later than his great grandma, Peter explained to our pupils that Alice was fighting for women to have equal pay and that is still not achieved, and explaining the importance that everyone should use their right to vote.