Compton Verney and Women

Lady Marie and the Suffragettes

In June 1913, suffragette Emily Wilding Davison threw herself under the King’s horse at the Derby. One month later, Compton Verney was the setting for a Women’s Suffrage Rally.

The 19th Baron and his wife Lady Marie were passionate supporters of votes for women. They first held an ‘At Home’ on women and the vote in 1911. Attendees of the 1913 rally toured the house and marvelled at its treasures, before listening to speeches from suffragist Margery Corbett Ashby and actress Lena Ashwell.

Lady Marie also took up the pen in the fight for the vote. When novelist and anti-feminist Mrs Humphry Ward proposed that women might make do with voting in local parliaments, Lady Marie rebutted her in a letter to The Times.

Are all the issues now before Parliament and the country imperial or local? Whichever they be, there is not a single one of them that does not vitally concern women.

Lady Marie Willoughby de Broke, Letter to The Times, 18 May 1914

 Lady Marie also contributed the closing chapter to C. Violet Butler’s 1916 report on Domestic Service for the Woman’s Industrial Council. She took a modern approach to employer responsibilities. A mistress should allow her maid to have male callers—providing that she first gave her ‘a little friendly warning and advice about the great physical laws of life and birth’.

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