The suffragette sisters who lived in Eye (Suffolk) during the Second World War

Rédigé par Alan

During the war five sisters lived together in a grand house in Eye, Suffolk, this is the story of two of the sisters who had been suffragettes.

Mary and Margaret Thompson - Suffragette sisters

Mary and Margaret Thompson were both involved with the suffragist movement. Margaret, who was a militant suffragette, had three spells of imprisonment with Mrs Pankhurst and Mrs Pethwick-Lawrence between the years 1909 and 1912. Mary and Margaret published their memoires of this period in 1957 in a small book entitled They couldn't stop us ! Experiences of two (usually law-abiding) women in the years 1909 - 1913.
They were born in Northumberland into a large family of seven daughters and five sons.
For about thirty years, until the late 1950's Mary and Margaret lived with four of their sisters at Linden House in Lambseth street in Eye, Suffolk. All of them were professional women and teachers.
Mary taught the classics at South Hampstead School and attended a suffrage talk given by Emily Davies at the school on 9th May 1904. She immediately joined the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, as did her sister Margaret. 
On 24th February 1909 Margaret was arrested at a protest at the House of Commons and was sentenced to one month's imprisonment. In November 1911 she was arrested again after taking part in the WSPU window smashing campaign and was sentenced to ten days in prison.
In March 1912, undeterred she repeated her actions, she was arrested and held in remand. At the end of April she was sentenced to six months' imprisonment in Holloway.
On the 19th June she went on hunger strike but from the 22nd June to 6th July she was force fed.
In the book that she wrote many years later with her sister Mary she gave a full account of her time in prison.
Mary was arrested in February 1912 for playing a barrel organ in Oxford Street during WSPU self-denial week. She was given a fine but refused to pay. Some fellow teachers heard of this and paid the fine on her behalf.

Memorial for the 490th Bomb Group USAAF at Eye, Suffolk, England (link)