My research revealed an untold story of a young working class Kent maid, Ethel Violet Baldock, who was involved in the suffrage movement. Having met Ethel's descendants, I feel honoured and privileged to have told her story and her involvement in the 1912 WSPU window-smashing militant action in London. Ethel is a Kent representative of all those who campaigned for women's suffrage. Her personal struggles and sacrifices contributed to votes for all men and some women being possible in 1918 and all women regardless of age or property qualifications in 1928. Her story belongs to us all, hence "Our Ethel".
On 30 October the Heart of Headcorn Project in Kent hosted a History Show as part of its fundraising campaign.
As reported in the Headcorn newsletter, it ‘was clear that there was an abundance of enthusiasm from the performers. Some were more experienced thespians and others were not. But it did not matter. The idea was to entertain and it certainly did that.’ One young performer, Coco Kemp, portrayed part of Ethel Violet Baldock’s story.
Jennifer was thrilled to be invited to watch the performance.It was moving to see the story of working class Kent maid and suffragette Ethel have her story performed on stage for the first time.
This was also a fitting tribute to Coco’s late grandmother, Penny Kemp, a pioneer in environmental and women’s rights and co-chair of the Green Party (read more in The Times)
There is footage from the History Show available to view here.
To donate to the Heart of Headcorn project fundraising to purchase and preserve the Headcorn Methodist Church for the benefit of the people of Headcorn click here.
Stage photograph by Jane Armstrong for the Headcorn Newsletter.