Peter brings great-grandmother’s suffragette story to life in Ringstead

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A talk about the life of a leading midlands suffragette was enjoyed by members of Ringstead Heritage Group.

Guest speaker Peter Barratt, is the great grandson of leading suffragette Alice Hawkins, who lived in Leicester, and cycled from there to Raunds and Ringstead to enthuse other women working in the shoe industry, to join the movement. Earlier this year a statue of Alice Hawkins was unveiled by Peter and his family in the centre of Leicester.

Peter remembered that when he was a young boy, his grandfather told him about going on suffragette marches with his mother, Alice Hawkins.

Peter speaks on a regular basis about Alice, at various venues, including Parliament (as part of their Women’s History month) and he will be speaking for the second year at the Edinburgh Festival fringe in August.

He gave an extremely entertaining account of his great grandmother and her conviction to join the movement.

On her first visit to London, she ended up in Holloway Gaol at the same time as two of the Pankhurst family, where they became resolute friends.

The family have been recently credited with probably having the most complete collection of suffragette memorabilia in the UK today still with descendants. With this a selection of the items will be on public display in the Palace of Westminster from June through to October as part of their centenary ‘Voice and Vote’ exhibition.

The Ringstead Heritage Group is growing in size; it now has its own centre, and interesting, previously unknown aspects of Ringstead’s history are being discovered and will be, over the coming months, placed on display in their new Heritage centre. They are planning to open this centre later this year around late June early July.

They will be celebrating their fourth year in late September when they are putting on an event “Music Memories” from the late 50s through to the early 70s. This is when they anticipate many local musicians who played in groups and bands around the local area will memorialise their memories of those halcyon times.