Teresa Billington-Greig

Teresa Billington-Greig


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Teresa Billington, the daughter of a shipping clerk, was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, in 1877. There was constant conflict concerning her disagreement with her parents' strong Roman Catholic views. She later said of her education: "We were taught to be Catholic young ladies on the lines of the education given to our grandmothers. There were no oral lessons, no demonstrations, no analysis or breaking down of problems. We sat quietly in rows of desks, learned from books, and our work was corrected by the nun who was mistress of the moment from the answers at the back of a similar book." Teresa ran away from home as a teenager and for the rest of her life was an outspoken agnostic.

Teresa became a pupil-teacher and eventually found work as a schoolteacher in Crumpsall. A fellow member of staff was Alice Schofield. However, Teresa's refused to teach religious instruction and this led to the Manchester Education Committee threatening to sack her. Emmeline Pankhurst, a member of the Manchester Education Committee, was impressed by Teresa's spirit and arranged for her to be transferred to a Jewish school where she would not have to teach religion.

With Emmeline Pankhurst's encouragement, Teresa Billington became a member of the Independent Labour Party in Manchester. In 1904 she was appointed as the organiser of the party in the city. Teresa also became involved in trade union issues. She objected to the fact that men received higher wages than women and became secretary of the Manchester Equal Pay Committee. During this period she became friendly with Eva Gore-Booth and Esther Roper.

In 1905 she was asked by Emmeline Pankhurst and James Keir Hardie to become a full-time organiser for the Independent Labour Party. She was only the second to be appointed and the first woman to hold such an appointment. Teresa later explained: "I gave up my teaching, my Equal Pay League work and my activity at the Manchester University Settlement and sacrificed my chance of a science degree to forward the woman's cause through the ILP." She was a great success at her new job. Elizabeth Wolstenholme-Elmy said: "It is to Miss Billington, more than to any other person or persons that the great labour parliamentary victories in the Potteries are due."

Teresa joined the Women's Social and Political Union and in 1907 she was asked to become a full-time worker for the organisation in London with Annie Kenney. Within a few months of arriving, Teresa had been arrested and sent to Holloway Prison. That year she also married a socialist, Frederick Lewis Greig (1875-1961), who worked as a manager for a billiard table manufacturer. He was sympathetic to women's rights and agreed to adopt Billington-Greig as their joint name.

Teresa, like other suffrages at the time, questioned the way that Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst were running the WSPU. She objected to the way they made decisions without consulting members. Teresa also felt that a small group of wealthy women were beginning to dominate the organisation and in 1907 she left the WSPU with Charlotte Despard and Alice Schofield to form the Women's Freedom League.

Teresa Billington-Greig also came into conflict with Margaret Bondfield over the issue of adult suffrage. Billington-Greig argued that women's political organisations should be advocating the "immediate granting of the Parliamentary Franchise to women on the same terms as men in the speediest and most practical way to real democracy". Bondfield took the view that if this happened the Conservatives would gain an advantage over the Labour Party. Bondfield also feared that once middle-class women had the vote, many of the leaders of the WSPU and NUWSS would lose interest in fighting for the political rights of working-class women. In December 1907, a public debate took place between Billington-Greig and Bondfield on this issue. Billington-Greig won the vote that followed the debate by 171 to 139.

Teresa Billington-Greig and other members of the Women's Freedom League were often sent to prison after being arrested on demonstrations. However, Billington-Greig and this group completely rejected the increasing violent tactics of the WSPU. In an article that she wrote, Teresa accused Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst of "emotionalism, personal tyranny and fanaticism."

She later recalled: "Gradually the movement has lost status as a serious rebellion and become a mere emotional obsession, a conventional campaign for a limited measure of legislation, with militancy as its instrument of publicity and the expression of its hurry. The leaders of the militant movement do not want a revolution; we were mistaken who believed that they did; they would be afraid of one."

In 1910 Billington-Greig declared that she intended to "work for women's suffrage independently". This mainly involved her writing books such as The Militant Suffrage Movement (1911), Consumers in Revolt (1912) and Women and the Machine (1913).

After the passing of the Equal Franchise Act in 1928 Billington-Greig concentrated her efforts on increasing the number of women in the House of Commons and for several years was the director of the Women for Westminster group. She was also honorary secretary of the Sports Fellowship, which attempted to interest underprivileged girls in athletics.

Teresa Billington-Greig died she died of cancer at the South London Hospital for Women on 21st October 1964. Her biographer argued: "She had retained her feminist principles throughout. While believing that the unity of all women through their womanly activities, above all as consumers, was the way forward, she never ceased to believe in the power of women through independent organization to make cultural change."

We were taught to be Catholic young ladies on the lines of the education given to our grandmothers. We sat quietly in rows of desks, learned from books, and our work was corrected by the nun who was mistress of the moment from the answers at the back of a similar book…. We had long periods of religious instruction… Friday afternoon was devoted entirely to behaviour. 'Manners make the lady,' we were taught, 'not money or learning, not beauty.' So we were practised opening a door, entering and leaving a room, bringing in a letter, a message, a tray or a gift, asking the mothers of girl friends to permit their daughters to attend a party, receiving a caller in the absence of parents, and so on!

Man is afraid of women. He proves it every day. History proves it for him - the history of politics, the history of industry, the history of social life. An examination of women's present position and of men's attitude towards the women's movement shows evidence of fear at every turn. Yes, it is quite true. Man is afraid of women because he has oppressed her. There is always for him the fear that the end may come, and rebellion carries with it not merely the throwing off the yoke but alongside of it the dread of such vengeful retaliation as corresponds to the oppressor's tyranny.

Two children are about to run a race. Says one to the other; 'You cannot run so well as I can so I will bind your legs with a cord.' Then as the race proceeds he cries, 'You can't run - you can't run. I am cleverer and stronger than you are.' 'Unbind my legs' is the answer, 'that I may have a chance.' But the free-limbed child capers about and says. 'unbind you? No, indeed. You have not come as far as I have. You do not know how to run. But when you catch me I will unbind your legs.'

In all essentials this little fable is analogous with the facts in the life of woman. On the ground that she is less able than man she is penalized in the struggle, and denied the opportunity, which she most needs. Her demand for liberty is met by the reply that when she, with her additional burdens, has shown herself man's equal according to his standard of judgment, her claim will be considered. If women really were incapable the arbitrary and artificial ring-fence which men have erected, and which they so carefully preserve, would not be needed. The fact of its erection and preservation is an acknowledgment by men that they fear women's equal competition.

I was nearing the prescribed age at which the pupil-teacher training then began… On the strength of my writing they took me in for a trial period; and I satisfied them as to my ability to learn as well as demonstrating an unsuspected capacity to control a class of forty girls only a year or two my juniors and to awaken in them new interest in their English and history, subjects which I had fed my hunger even then for years.

I had to find lodging in the neighbourhood. First I paid 7 shillings a week for a room and bought and cooked my own food… The first-year teaching certificate was achieved while I was there and the second in due course. For another £5 a year I moved to Ardwick School… I needed the extra fiver because my way of life meant a continuous expenditure on books and footwear. In those days I walked everywhere. Looking back I see myself, shabby, happy and absorbed, swinging away into town to evening classes, having already done the walk between school and lodging twice on days on which I carried my lunch, or four times when I returned to cook it for myself there.

I was making my living by teaching in a Catholic school. I had to observe the routine of the Catholic way of life. I had to teach it to children. Only by conforming could I persist in my life effort to find security… in a grim way I was compelled to endanger my soul for my day-to-day earthly salvation. I argued with myself that this was no crime, no sin… I alone was responsible for keeping myself alive. I held myself guilty in accepting love and confidence from my mother without confessing to her that I was an agnostic, believing no longer in any church or creed, nor in a God, as she knew God.

All the best-paid work is in the hands of men, and women are rigidly shut out. From all the higher posts in the lesser trades, and from all the chief trades and their subsidiary industries, women are rigorously excluded. When I was quite young I desired to be an engineer. I was almost as happy among the wonders of machinery as among flowers. The theories of impact, of momentum, of tension - the arrangements of levers, pulleys, planes and screws to make machines, were things to conjure with, with me. But as I was a woman such mechanical talent as I possessed had to be wasted. No department of engineering, theoretical or practical, was open to me. As the desire of women to practise as doctors was opposed, as the would-be women lawyer today is thwarted, so is the would-be women engineer, surveyor, or architect, so is the woman who desires to enter any of the better organised departments of industry.

Emmeline Pankhurst was at once recognised by me as a force, vital and resourceful. She had beauty and graciousness, moving and speaking with dignity, but with no uncertainty of mind and movement. Later I was to see her captivating the mob, turning commonplace men and women into heroes, enslaving the young rebel women by the exploitation of emotion.

To work alongside of her day by day was to run the risk of losing yourself. She was ruthless in using the followers she gathered around her, as she was ruthless to herself. She took advantage of both their strengths and their weaknesses… suffered with you and for you while she believed she was shaping you and used every device of suppression when the revolt against the shaping came. She was a most astute statesman, a skilled politician, a self-dedicated reshaper of the world - and a dictator without mercy.

The first militant protest was decided upon by Miss Christabel Pankhurst, and announced by mother or daughter to a small number of the more active members of the Union. The body of members knew nothing of the plans until they heard with the public that it had been carried out… It was at this point that the sense of difference of outlook, of which I had always been conscious in my association with Mrs. Pankhurst and her daughter, became acute. I did not approve the line of protest determined upon. It seemed to me to provide a very inadequate outlet for the expression of our rebellion.

In September, about a month before the date arranged for the gathering, Mrs. Pankhurst, ignoring the Honorary Secretary, called a Committee meeting, declared the Conference annulled, the Constitution cancelled, and the rights of the members abolished, and proclaimed herself as sole dictator of the movement. She appointed herself secretary, Mrs. Pethick Lawrence treasurer, and Miss Christabel Pankhurst organizing secretary. She chose for herself a committee consisting of paid organisers and two or three women who were willing to lend their names to this purpose.

The clumsy declaration of autocracy broke the spell of many who would willingly have voted away their rights. Those who stuck to the Constitution formed the Women's Freedom League… This reversion to autocracy, this denial of suffrage in their own society to women seeking suffrage in the State, brought to a sudden close to this stage in the progress of militancy.

Gradually the movement has lost status as a serious rebellion and become a mere emotional obsession, a conventional campaign for a limited measure of legislation, with militancy as its instrument of publicity and the expression of its hurry. The leaders of the militant movement do not want a revolution; we were mistaken who believed that they did; they would be afraid of one.


Teresa Billington-Greig was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1877 and brought up in Independent Labour Party. In Apr 1904 she was the founder and honorary secretary of the Manchester branch of the Equal Pay League within the National Union of Teachers.

In either late 1903 or early 1904, she joined the WSPU in Scotland and it was here that she married Frederick Lewis Greig in 1907. However, growing differences with the Pankhursts led to her resignation as a paid WSPU organiser, though she remained in the group as a member until Oct 1907.

In Oct 1907, Mrs Pankhurst suspended the constitution and took over government of the Conciliation Bill.

Although she did not immediately join another organisation Billington-Greig continued to write and carry out public speaking engagements - activities she continued throughout her life. She also cared for her daughter, born in 1915, and supported her husband's billiards table company. Her only organisational work until 1937 was in the field of sport. Then she once more joined the Woman's Freedom League working for its Women's Electoral Committee. After the Second World War this became the Women for Westminster group with which she remained involved. Subsequently she took part in the Conference on the Feminine Point of View (1947–1951) and after 1958 she was a member of the Six Point Group while writing her account of the Suffrage Movement.

She had a keen interest in the history of the suffrage movement, as well as her writings on the subject she compiled many biographies. Some of these were created for obituaries for the Manchester Guardian. Her writings on behalf of the women's cause (but to some extent in criticism of it) included 'The Militant Suffrage Movement', published in 1911. Other writings cover a wide range of topics of social and feminist interest. She wrote innumerable articles for a variety of journals. Her interests were wide and she was involved in a large number of women's organisation. In 1904 she had formed the Manchester Branch of the Equal Pay League. She held strong views on a variety of subjects of public interest, but especially equality between the sexes in education and in marriage. She died in 1964.


Administrative / Biographical History

Teresa Billington-Greig was born in Preston in 1877 and brought up in Blackburn in a family of catholic drapers. After leaving home and despite having no qualifications, she began work as a teacher at a Roman Catholic school in Manchester until her own agnosticism made this impossible. From there she joined the Municipal Education School service where her religious beliefs brought her into conflict with her employers. However, through the Education Committee there she met Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903 who found her work in a Jewish school, and that same year she became a member of the Independent Labour Party.

In April 1904 she was the founder and honorary secretary of the local branch of the Equal Pay League within the National Union of Teachers. In either late 1903 or early 1904, she joined the Women's Social and Political Union and became one of their travelling speakers. The following year she was asked to become the second full-time organiser of the group in its work with the Labour Party and in this capacity she organised publicity and demonstrations as well as building up the group's new national headquarters in London. In June of 1906, Billington was arrested in an affray outside of Asquith's home and later sentenced to a fine or two months in Holloway. An anonymous reader of the Daily Mirror paid the fine. In June of that same year, she was sent to organise the WSPU in Scotland and it was here that she married Frederick Lewis Greig the following year. However, growing differences with the Pankhursts led to her resignation as a paid organiser, though she remained in the group as a member until October. It was then, on the occasion of the Pankhursts' unilateral rewriting of the body's constitution, that she left the group along with Charlotte Despard to form the Women's Freedom League on the basis of organisational democracy. However, she once more resigned in 1910 when the WFL undertook a new campaign of militancy after the defeat of the Conciliation Bill.

After 1907, she was unwilling to join other organisations and devoted her time to her daughter (born in 1915) and her husband's billiards table company. Her only organisational work until 1937 was in the field of sport. Then she once more joined the Woman's Freedom League working for it's Women's Electoral Committee. After the Second World War this became the Women for Westminster group with which she remained involved. Subsequently she took part in the Conference on the Feminine Point of View (1947-51) and after 1958 she was a member of the Six Point Group while writing her account of the Suffrage Movement. She died in 1964.


Teresa Billington-Greig

Teresa Billington was born in Preston in 1877 and raised in Blackburn where she attended a convent school. Escaping from the strict Catholicism of her mother, Teresa ran away from home at the age of 17. In Manchester, Teresa began studying and qualified as an assistant teacher, working in Crumpsall. In addition she was working for an external B.Sc. from the University of London and becoming involved in the Ancoats University Settlement. In the Settlement she took up administrative and social duties and learned how to prepare for and address meetings. After having been exposed to many causes, Teresa became a committed feminist. Having abandoned her religious beliefs she rejected the fact that the school curriculum required her to teach religious studies. She had to appear before the Manchester Education Committee where her case was considered by Emmeline Pankhurst. With the help of Emmeline she was re-employed briefly in a Jewish school in Manchester but was soon a member of the Women&rsquos Social & Political Union (WSPU) and spent much of her time addressing meetings. In 1904 she also established the Manchester branch of the Equal Pay League, particularly pressing for equal pay for teachers.

In 1905 she was asked by Keir Hardie to become an organiser in the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and she gave up all her educational and career opportunities in Manchester to take up this full-time post. Teresa worked for the ILP whilst maintaining her involvement with the WSPU and becoming a part of the militant suffrage movement. In 1906 she became an organiser with the WSPU, working alongside Annie Kenney and Sylvia Pankhurst. In June of that year she was imprisoned after a march to the house of the Prime Minister ended in violence. Teresa had written many letters explaining both the tactics and the aims of militant activity and in 1906 she wrote the work The militant policy of women suffragists in which she outlined that for a number of rational reasons women had the right to rebel.

In a period of two years Teresa wrote a number of important essays in which she outlined both the principles which underpinned the movement and how draining the work had become. In The woman and the whip she spoke of leaving meetings &lsquoin a state of nervous humiliation, shocked, weeping, and shuddering&rsquo. In Woman&rsquos liberty and man&rsquos fear she wrote that &lsquobecause man has oppressed woman, he is afraid of her because he has denied her liberty and bought and sold her, he is afraid to face her free&rsquo in response to the increasingly violent reaction from men during demonstrations.

The WSPU organising team in London was deliberately broken up in 1906 with Sylvia Pankhurst being pushed away from the movement and Teresa sent to organise in Scotland. Whilst in Scotland she met Frederick Greig, the manager of a billiard supplies company and was married in February 1907, holding the reception in WSPU premises. Later that year she stopped being the organiser in Scotland and became increasingly irritated at the high-handed behaviour of Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst. When the Pankhursts assumed full and undemocratic control of the WSPU, Teresa along with a number of other women formed the Women&rsquos Freedom League (WFL).

Teresa worked hard for the WFL but her poor health, journalism duties and the need for a home life resulted in her detachment from the organisation by 1910, although she continued to support the movement. She was also increasingly alienated because the WFL and the WSPU were working together on more militant activity and Teresa continued to believe in the tactics of civil disobedience and moral force. She maintained her income from journalism, writing in The New Age, The Contemporary Review and working as a freelance speaker.

She started to work for Frederick Greig&rsquos billiard company during World War One and in 1931 she helped establish the Women&rsquos Billiards Association which had the aims of &lsquoencouraging, promoting and controlling women&rsquos billiards&rsquo. She was also active in the Sports Fellowship, an organisation which promoted &lsquosports and games amongst the poorer classes&rsquo which was supported by leading sportswomen and male cricketers and footballers.

In 1937 she re-joined the WFL and in later life joined Women for Westminster, the Married Women&rsquos Association and the Six Point Group, the &lsquopoints&rsquo being political, occupational, moral, social, economic and legal equality. After the Second World War, Teresa started writing again and began, but never finished, an autobiography and a biography of Charlotte Despard. She died in 1964.

The Working Class Movement Library has material on the life and work of Teresa Billington-Greig. The principal work is The non violent militant: writings of Teresa Billington-Greig by Teresa, Carol McPhee & Ann Fitzgerald [Shelfmark H35] which contains a biography, essays and fragments of autobiography. Works by Teresa include The militant suffrage movement [A12], Consumers in revolt [A59], Towards women&rsquos liberty [M04] and Suffragist Tactics [Suffragette Movement &ndash Box 1]. The Library has a copy of a debate between Teresa, when in the ILP, and the Liberal Josiah Wedgwood [ILP &ndash Box 6].

There is material on the Women&rsquos Freedom League, for example Women&rsquos Freedom League 1907-1957 by Stella Newsome [Suffragette Movement &ndash Box 2] and a WFL pamphlet &ndash What we are working for [Women &ndash Box 8]. The women&rsquos suffrage movement: new feminist perspectives by Maroula Joannou and June Purvis [E56] covers the WFL and other women&rsquos organisations.


Teresa Billington-Greig - History

SUFFRAGETTE, TERESA BILLINGTON-GREIG &ndash

lodged with Sylvia Pankhurst in Park Walk, Chelsea died in South London Hospital for Women on Clapham Common

Teresa Billington, the daughter of a shipping clerk, was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, in 1877. Teresa had a stormy relationship with her parents. There was constant conflict concerning her disagreement with her parents' strong Roman Catholic views. Teresa ran away from home as a teenager and for the rest of her life was an outspoken agnostic.

Teresa became a pupil-teacher and eventually found work as a schoolteacher in Manchester. However, Teresa's refused to teach religious instruction and this led to the Manchester Education Committee threatening to sack her. Emmeline Pankhurst, a member of the Manchester Education Committee, was impressed by Teresa's spirit and arranged for her to be transferred to a Jewish school where she would not have to teach religion.

With Emmeline Pankhurst's encouragement, Teresa Billington became a member of the Independent Labour Party in Manchester. In 1904 she was appointed as the organiser of the party in the city. Teresa also became involved in trade union issues. She objected to the fact that men received higher wages than women and became secretary of the Manchester Equal Pay Committee.

Teresa also joined the Women's Social and Political Union and in 1907 she was asked to become a full-time worker for the organisation in London. Within a few months of arriving, Teresa had been arrested and sent to Holloway Prison. That year she also married a socialist, Frederick Lewis Greig (1875-1961), who worked as a manager for a billiard table manufacturer. He was sympathetic to women's rights and agreed to adopt Billington-Greig as their joint name.

Teresa, like other suffrages at the time, questioned the way that Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst were running the WSPU. She objected to the way they made decisions without consulting members. Teresa also felt that a small group of wealthy women were beginning to dominate the organisation and in 1907 she left the WSPU with Charlotte Despard to form the Women's Freedom League.

Teresa Billington-Greig also came into conflict with Margaret Bondfield over the issue of adult suffrage. Billington-Greig argued that women's political organisations should be advocating the "immediate granting of the Parliamentary Franchise to women on the same terms as men in the speediest and most practical way to real democracy". Bondfield took the view that if this happened the Conservatives would gain an advantage over the Labour Party. Bondfield also feared that once middle-class women had the vote, many of the leaders of the WSPU and NUWSS would lose interest in fighting for the political rights of working-class women. In December 1907, a public debate took place between Billington-Greig and Bondfield on this issue. Billington-Greig won the vote that followed the debate by 171 to 139.

Teresa Billington-Greig and other members of the Women's Freedom League were often sent to prison after being arrested on demonstrations. However, Billington-Greig and this group completely rejected the increasing violent tactics of the WSPU.

I n 1910 Billington-Greig declar ed that she intended to "work for women's suffrage independently". This mainly involved her writing books such as The Militant Suffrage Movement (1911), Consumers in Revolt (1912) and Women and the Machine (1913).

After the passing of the Equal Franchise Act in 1928 Billington-Greig concentrated her efforts on increasing the number of women in the House of Commons and for several years was the director of the Women for Westminster group.


Catalogue description Papers of Teresa Billington Greig

The archive consists of two parts.

Part 1 consists of records collated during Billington-Grieg's membership of a large number of international women's organisations, associated correspondence, drafts of papers presented at conferences, as well as publications received from the organisations. In addition there are papers related to her unpublished biography of Charlotte Despard.

Billington Grieg was a keen suffrage historian, and her historical writings on suffrage (as well as papers reflecting her own suffrage activism) are represented in her archive.

Subjects covered include: women's suffrage, post-suffrage campaign period, status of women, equal pay, women workers, women's education, war and peace, sex and prostitution, international women's activism.

Formats include: correspondence, drafts and notes of speeches and articles, photographs and printed material (press cuttings, newspapers, leaflets, pamphlets, journals and books).

Part 2 contains leaflets, circulars, election papers and reports of meetings of the Central Women's Electoral Committee established by the Women's Freedom League (1937-1939) papers of the Women's Freedom League itself including incomplete executive committee minutes (1937-1941), papers of conferences (1937, 1938, 1952, 1953, 1955), publications and circulars files, publications, committee papers and other official papers of the Women for Westminster group and Teresa Billington Greig's notes and related correspondence (1938-1950) minutes, related correspondence and official papers of the Married Women's Association (1937-1961) publications of the Fawcett Society (1937-1961) publications, notices of meetings and agendas of the Women's Council (1948-1959) publications and papers of the Six Point Group (1959-1961) the Women's Publicity Planning Association (1942-1949) the International Alliance of Women (1946-1961) the British Commonwealth League (1947-1961), periodicals, invitations and news sheets (1950-1960) minutes, conference agendas, correspondence and papers of the National Women Citizen's Association (1939-1961) notes and quotations for articles, miscellaneous leaflets, pamphlets and government publications (1905-1961) notes and press cuttings related to the Commonwealth and the 'Third World' (1949-1961) and materials collected by Teresa Billington Greig for articles and a biography of Charlotte Despard including notes, a draft memoir and essays, list of interview questions and replies, pamphlets by Despard, correspondence and photographs.

The archive consists of two accessions to the Women's Library, these have not yet been sorted and arranged as one archive, but remain as two sets of material.

For catalogue details of the attached image see TWL.2002.17 in The Women's Library.

London Metropolitan University, The Women's Library uses Mary Evans Picture Library (MEPL) to provide images from its collections, see www.maryevans.com.

For a copy of the attached image please contact MEPL, quoting the MEPL image reference 10060814 or 10132245

Billington-Greig, Teresa, 1877-1964, suffragist

Greig, Billington-, Teresa, 1877-1964, suffragist

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Teresa Billington-Greig left her papers to the Fawcett Library on her death in 1964.

Teresa Billington-Greig left her papers to the Fawcett Library after her death in 1964. Although some of her papers were catalogued at the time (7TBG/1), the majority (7TBG/2) had to wait for 20 years, with some unfortunate results. Various obviously extraneous items found their way into her papers, such as press cuttings from 1968 and 1972, and perhaps some less obvious ones too.The undocumented removal of material has posed far greater problems. For example, a whole file (volume 9/25) of the Library's Autograph Letter Collection consists of biographical notes removed from 7TBG papers. There are also various items of her correspondence in the collection. Since the Autograph Letter Collection is now so well established, and a microfiche edition of that collection been published, it has been judged impracticable to attempt to remove the 7TBG items. Likewise, annotated journals of hers which were integrated into the main library stock have been left in situ. Notes have been made at appropriate places in the Catalogue if journals are known to have been removed. Fragments of 7TBG's notes that had been inserted in the Library's Photograph Collection were retrieved, but listed in a section of their own. Further 7TBG papers are to be found in the Charlotte Despard papers, including material totally unrelated to Charlotte Despard.The 7TBG papers have also suffered to some extent from a pulling out of context of certain choice items, and the creation of new subject files. Where this has clearly happened, it has been noted in the catalogue.TBG was a great collector of potentially useful material (such as leaflets and press cuttings). She did not believe in wasting paper, and wrote notes on the backs of leaflets, envelopes, calendars, etc. It is obvious from her papers that she intended writing for publication on a great deal more than she actually did.Bearing in mind the limitations posed by the difficulties noted above, TBG's own ordering of her papers has been honored. This results in a certain overlap of subject matter between sections (e.g. those interested in her thought on education need to look at the section of autobiographical writing as well as the section on education).Abbreviations used:FLB-G Frederick L Billington-GreigILP Independent Labour PartyM/c ManchesterMWA Married Women's AssociationNUWSS National Union of Women's Suffrage SocietiesNUWT National Union of Women TeachersTBG Teresa Billington-GreigWFL Women's Freedom LeagueWFW Women's for WestminsterWSPU Women's Social & Political UnionMargaret Sweet, Archivist 1984.

Teresa Billington-Greig (1877-1964) was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1877 and brought up in Blackburn in a family of drapers. Although from a Roman Catholic family, Billington-Greig became an agnostic whilst still in her teens. Having left school with no qualifications she was initially apprenticed to the millinery trade. However, she ran away from home and educated herself well enough at night classes to become a teacher. She worked as a teacher at a Roman Catholic school in Manchester, studying at Manchester University in her spare time, until her own agnosticism made this impossible. From there Billington-Greig joined the Municipal Education School service where her religious beliefs brought her into conflict with her employers. However, through the Education Committee there she met Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903 who found her work in a Jewish school, while that same year she became a member and organiser of the Independent Labour Party.

In April 1904 she was the founder and honorary secretary of the local branch of the Equal Pay League within the National Union of Teachers. In either late 1903 or early 1904, she joined the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) and became one of their travelling speakers. She was sent to London with Annie Kenney to foster the movement there and to create a London-based organisation, which eventually became the headquarters of the Union. This was done on a small financial budget. The following year she was asked to become the second full-time organiser of the group in its work with the Labour Party and in this capacity she organised publicity and demonstrations as well as building up the group's new national headquarters in London.

In June 1906, Billington-Greig was arrested in an affray outside of Asquith's home and later sentenced to a fine or two months in Holloway Prison. She was the first suffragette to be sent to Holloway Prison although an anonymous reader of the Daily Mirror paid the fine. Later in the same month, June 1906, she was sent to organise the WSPU in Scotland and it was here that she married Frederick Lewis Greig 1907. However, growing differences with the Pankhursts led to her resignation as a paid organiser, though she remained in the group as a member until Oct 1907. In Oct 1907, Mrs Pankhurst suspended the constitution and took over government of the WSPU with her daughter Christabel. Several prominent members left the WSPU, including Billington-Greig, Mrs How-Martyn and Charlotte Despard who together went on to form the Women's Freedom League (WFL) on the basis of organisational democracy. Billington-Greig was initially appointed the National Honorary Organising Secretary for the League. However, Billington-Greig once more resigned in 1910 when the WFL undertook a new campaign of militancy after the defeat of the Conciliation Bill.

Although she did not immediately join another organisation Billington-Greig continued to write and carry out public speaking engagements - activities she continued throughout her life. She also cared for her daughter, born in 1915, and supported her husband's billiards table company. Her only organisational work until 1937 was in the field of sport. Then she once more joined the Woman's Freedom League working for it's Women's Electoral Committee. After the Second World War this became the Women for Westminster group with which she remained involved. Subsequently she took part in the Conference on the Feminine Point of View (1947-1951) and after 1958 she was a member of the Six Point Group while writing her account of the Suffrage Movement. She had a keen interest in the history of the suffrage movement, as well as her writings on the subject she compiled many biographies. Some of these were created for obituaries for the Manchester Guardian. Her writings on behalf of the women's cause (but to some extent in criticism of it) included 'The Militant Suffrage Movement', published in 1911. Other writings cover a wide range of topics of social and feminist interest. She wrote innumerable articles for a variety of journals. Her interests were wide and she was involved in a large number of women's organisation. In 1904 she had formed the Manchester Branch of the Equal Pay League. She held strong views on a variety of subjects of public interest, but especially equality between the sexes in education and in marriage. She died in 1964.


Martin Glaberman's analysis on the formation of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement, a radical organisation of black car factory workers who placed themselves in opposition to both their.

Some American and European comrades have asked me, Why didn’t you have an Occupy movement in Italy? Why is the NO TAV movement the only expression of social struggle? The NO TAV, despite their.

An extensive compilation of the political writings of left communist Sylvia Pankhurst on class, women, communism and fascism.


Contents

School teacher

Teresa Billington-Greig was born in Preston (Lancashire) in 1877 and grew up in a drapery family in Blackburn . She was strictly Roman Catholic , so her parents were very upset when Teresa became agnostic in adolescence . Since she had finished her school career without a degree, she was supposed to do an apprenticeship in hat making. But she ran away from home and took evening classes to become a teacher. She worked as a teacher in a Roman Catholic school in Manchester and studied at Manchester University in her spare time until her agnosticism made this impossible. She then moved to the Municipal Education School Service, where her religious beliefs brought her into conflict with employers. But through the "Education Committee" there she made the acquaintance of Emmeline Pankhurst in 1993 , who found her a job in a Jewish school where she had no religious instruction. That year she also became a member and organizer of the Independent Labor Party . In April 1904, she was the founder and honorary secretary of the Manchester branch of the "Equal Pay League" within the "National Union of Teachers" (National Teachers' Union).

Member of the WSPU

In 1904 the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) made her one of their traveling speakers. She was sent to London with Annie Kenney to found a local organization that eventually became the headquarters of the WSPU. All of this was done on a tight financial basis. The following year she was asked to become the second full-time organizer for Keir Hardie and his work in the Labor Party . During this time she did public relations work and organized demonstrations as well as setting up the group's new national headquarters in London.

In June 1906, during a tumult outside HH Asquith's estate, Billington-Greig was arrested and later sentenced to a fine or two months in Holloway Prison . She was the first suffragette to be sent to jail despite the fine being paid by an anonymous Daily Mirror reader . Later that same month of June 1906 she was sent to reorganize the WSPU in Scotland. She influenced Janie Allan among many others . And there in Scotland she married Frederick Lewis in 1907. They agreed to use the common name Billington-Lewis. The growing differences with the Pankhursts led to her resignation as a paid WSPU organizer, although she remained a member of the Union until October 1907.

Women's Freedom League

In October 1907 Mrs. Pankhurst canceled the constitution and took over the regiment in the WSPU together with her daughter Christabel Pankhurst . Several prominent members left the WSPU this included Billington-Greig, Edith How-Martyn and Charlotte Despard , who set out to found the Women's Freedom League (WFL) on the basis of democratic organizational principles . Billington-Greig was originally appointed National Honorary Organizing Secretary of the WFL. But she resigned once more from this post in 1910 when the WFL began a new militant campaign after the Conciliation Bill failed.

She did not immediately join another organization, but continued to write and make speaking commitments these were activities that she continued throughout her life. She also looked after her daughter Fiona, who was born in December 1915, and supported her husband in his billiard table company. Your only organizational activity until 1937 was in the field of sport. Then she rejoined the Woman's Freedom League to work for their Women's Electoral Committee. After the Second World War it became the group "Women for Westminster" (Women for Westminster, the lower house), for which she continued to work. As a result, she took part in the "Conference on the Feminine Point of View" (1947-1951) and after 1958 she was a member of the Six Point Group while she wrote her report on the women's suffrage movement.

Critical Writings

She had a keen interest in the history of the women's suffrage movement In addition to her writing on this subject, she put together many biographies. Some of these were created as necrologists for the Manchester Guardian . Her writings on the 'women's cause' include (but somewhat critical of it) 'The Militant Suffrage Movement', published in 1911. Her critical articles on the politics of the women's suffrage movement include 'Feminism and Politics,' published in 1911 in the Contemporary Review , in which she wrote, "There is no feminist organization and no feminist program. And though the first is not essential, the second is." (German: There is no feminist organization and no feminist program. And since the former is not essential, the latter is even more so. ). She voiced similar criticism in an unpublished document, "The Feminist Revolt: An Alternate Policy", in which she claims that "[t] he militant movement has kept to a straight narrow way and read it should touch life it has cloaked itself with artifice and hypocrisy. " (German: The militant movement stuck to a straight, narrow path and so that it did not want to come into contact with life, it enveloped itself with tricks and hypocrisy. ). Instead of the militant methods that were common (attacks on private property, for example), she recommended that electoral activists try new tactics: “On one matter [a] protest could be made within the Police Court, on another outside, in public meetings and the public press . Strikes and boycotts could be employed on new feminist lines. "(German: A protest could be made within the court for one thing, outside the court for another, such as at public gatherings and in the public press. Strike events and boycotts could be carried out according to new feminist ideas. )

She wrote countless articles for a variety of magazines. Her interest was wide and she was involved in a large number of women's organizations. She had strict views on a variety of subjects of general interest, but most importantly, gender equality in upbringing and education, as well as in marriage.

She died of cancer on October 21, 1964, at the age of 87, in the South London Hospital for Women. Her biographer wrote:

"She had retained her feminist principles throughout. While believing that the unity of all women through their womanly activities, above all as consumers, was the way forward, she never ceased to believe in the power of women through independent organization to make cultural change. "

(German: She kept her feminist principles. On the one hand, she believed that the unity of all women through their female activities, despite all consumption, was the way forward, on the other hand, she never stopped believing that it was in the power of women to bring about cultural change through independent organizations. )


Child labourer to suffragette

When Kenney went to work in a factory as a child, it’s unlikely she imagined that, just a few years later, she’d be addressing rallies, taking on male politicians, facing imprisonment, or finally writing in her memoir that “in the end, we won”.

Indeed, in that memoir Memories Of A Militant, she wrote that in her early years “politics did not interest me in the least”.

A “factory girl”, Kenney became a trade unionist, later on noting that there were “96,000 women members of the trade union and not any women officials”.

This inequality was of course reflected in the voting laws of her time, when the lives of half the population were regulated by male voters and MPs, without their input. It wasn’t until Kenney was 38 years old, in 1918, that some women won the vote.

Annie Kenney. Photo: Bain News Service / Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.

Kenney wasn’t unique in her position as a working-class woman fighting for the vote. She was joined by women like Mary Gawthorpe, a fellow survivor of child labour who became a teacher and a union activist.

Gawthorpe had campaigned for free school meals and labour rights before the arrest of Kenney and the militant suffragette organisation Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) co-founder Christabel Pankhurst in October 1905 convinced her that the right to vote was needed to change things for women.

She quickly became a committed suffragette, writing to Christabel Pankhurst at this time that she “too was ready to go to prison”.

Cross-class solidarity mattered to Gawthorpe. In her book Suffrage Days, historian Sandra Stanley Holton wrote that Gawthorpe found "a unity of purpose in the suffrage movement which made social distinction seem of little importance”, and experienced “sexual solidarity with women from other classes”.

Gawthorpe was paid £2 a week by the WSPU to rally her fellow working-class women to the cause. In her memoir, fellow militant suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst recalled one of their meetings where “throngs of mill women kept up the chorus in broad Yorkshire: ‘shall we win? Shall us have the vote? We shall!’”

One of the best-known members of the WSPU was Kenney, who travelled across the country rallying women to fight for the vote. Addressing crowds in Manchester, or heckling Winston Churchill at an electoral rally, she an electrifying speaker.

Like Gawthorpe, Kenney knew the importance of reaching out to the poorest in society. For them, the vote was not to be won for the rich or the elite. It had to be a tool which could change women’s lives wherever and however they lived.

The vote was not to be won for the rich or the elite. It had to be a tool which could change women’s lives wherever and however they lived.

In her memoir, Kenney described with admiration the courage of women who joined the fight for the vote from the slums of London’s East End, amidst daily struggles with extreme poverty, reflected in their “thin, sallow, pinched, pain-stricken” faces.

Kenney thought that, through the struggle for suffrage, “we gave them [East End women] something to dream about, and a hope in the future”. She had felt this herself, describing with emotion how the movement “absolutely changed” her life and was a “school for experience. a chance for those who loved adventure”.

Kenney also spoke to the Wigan pit girls. These were women who worked in the coal mines in the town of Wigan, in the northwest of England. In 1908 they joined other suffragettes and campaigners in a historic march on parliament to demand the vote.

She knew that, for pit and factory girls like herself, risking arrest was a significant sacrifice. Working-class women – as Constance Lytton’s experiment exposed – were treated differently, and had more to lose, in prison and after.

But this didn’t stop the Wigan pit girls, and many other working-class women, who joined the movement despite these risks.

Sophia Duleep Singh. Photo: Unknown author/Museum of London/Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.

Kenney also recalled taking “fishwives, pit brow girls, East End women, laundresses, teachers, nurses, tailoresses, factory girls” to meet MPs. At one protest, she described meeting a “tin plate worker who said she had come alone, and [had been] determined to come whether she got killed or not”.

These women are not the popular representations of the suffragettes as middle-class, ‘middle England’ women that we are used to in the UK. While we celebrate the work of famous and class-privileged suffragettes such as the Pankhursts, the brave women from the pits, slums and factories who marched alongside them, and risked so much, have often been erased from the story.

But women from all walks of life, including those from the poorest backgrounds, with the least political and social power, recognised the need for the vote, and were prepared to sacrifice their safety and freedom to get it. The real story of the suffragettes includes the poorest women standing up to the most powerful men in the country to demand a better future.

Of course, the 1918 Representation of the People Act denied those very women the vote by extending suffrage only to women over 30 years old who held property. It wasn’t until 1928 that all adult women won the right to vote.


II. Déconstruire le mythe

7 Teresa Billington-Greig s’interroge en premier lieu sur l’émotion irra­tionnelle qui préside à l’adoption des mesures répressives à l’égard de la prostitution. Pour elle, ces histoires d’enlèvements qui suscitent une vague d’agitation dans la société anglaise, altèrent la perception du pro­blème. D’emblée, elle diagnostique les symptômes d’une “peur panique”. Dans son article “The Truth about White Slavery”, elle énumère les carac­téristiques de la rumeur autour de la traite : le nombre, la nature extraordi­naire de ces histoires ainsi que l’absence de sources discréditent profon­dément la valeur des récits d’enlèvements ou de tentatives d’enlèvements de jeunes filles. Pied-à-pied elle déconstruit des histoires d’enlèvements par motos, des récits de jeunes filles droguées ou disparues, diffusés dans The Standard, journal auquel contribue le moraliste W. Coote, ou dans The Awakener, périodique de la Men’s Society for Women’s Rights.

8 Teresa Billington-Greig décide de mener l’enquête en se fixant pour objectif de déterminer la fréquence réelle des enlèvements (trapping). Comme prémisse, elle définit l’objet de ses investigations tout en recon­naissant le caractère complexe de la question :

If unwilling girls can be carried off in broad daylight by force, drugs, or false messages, I should call that trapping. I know that there is a broad, debatable ground between this type of case and seduction, occupied by false advertisement cases, beguilement and decoying cases, in which the victim is more or less a consenting party (Billington-Greig, 1913 :431).

9 Décidée à faire la lumière sur ces faits, elle envoie des lettres aux leaders des associations de moralité publique, rédige des questionnaires et établit des données statistiques à partir des chiffres transmis par les directeurs de police (Chiefs Constables) de Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ports­mouth, Southampton, Leeds, Stoke-on-Trent et Bath. Par souci de trans­parence, elle précise à ses lecteurs que l’ensemble des documents qui servent à la rédaction de son article sont confiés aux mains de l’éditeur de The English Review.

10 Elle réexamine les cas de trapping avancés par Miss Mackezie, de la Ladie’s National Association, et C. Bramwell Booth, de l’Armée du Salut. Aucun témoignage ne corrobore la véracité des faits, qui ne sont souvent que des tentatives d’enlèvements ou ne concernent que des victimes étrangères (Billington-Greig, 1913 :437-438). Également interrogés, W. Coote et Mrs Hunter de la National Vigilance Association, échouent à trouver les sources des récits d’enlèvements forcés qui ont inondé tout le pays. W. Coote, dans sa réponse, ajoute cependant :

It does not follow that the particular cases referred to did not happen… I have little doubt that the stories told were based on actual fact… (Billington-Greig, 1913 :439).

  • 3 Comme l’explique Jo Doezema, « myth does not simply mean something that is “false”, but is rather a (. )
  • 4 C’est également la conclusion de D. Jazbinsek ( Jazbinsek D., 2002, pp.44-45).

11 Ce n’est pas l’avis de Teresa Billington-Greig, qui oppose au “mythe” de la traite des blanches une méthode expérimentale et empirique de la re­cherche des faits pouvant servir à développer des remèdes plus efficaces que la restriction ou la régulation de la prostitution3. Cette démarche empirique (enquête sur le terrain, étude de cas, critique des sources), qu’elle utilise et commente à plusieurs reprises, est assurément originale et nouvelle4.

12 Teresa Billington-Greig démontre que toutes les filles portées disparues ne sont pas nécessairement les victimes de trafiquants (Billington-Greig 1913 :434). La première partie de son tableau statistique le prouve (voir tableau 1) : la proportion des filles et des femmes retrouvées est à peu près équivalente à celle des garçons et des hommes.

Tableau 1. Résultats de l’enquête menée par Teresa Billington-Greig pour définir la fréquence des cas d’enlèvement5.


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