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Rosa May Billinghurst: Suffragette on Three Wheels by Sheila Hanlon

Historian Dr. Sheila Hanlon’s research interests include Victorian and Edwardian cycling history and the WWI and WWII Women’s Land Army, both in Canada and Britain. She is also curator of Cycling to Suffrage at The Women’s Library, London.

Her blog recently posted an awesome photo of suffragette Rosa May Billinghurst at a protest sitting on a large tricycle surrounded by police. From Dr. Hanlon’s blog post:

Rosa May Billinghurst (1873-1953) was born and raised in Lewisham, London. As a child, she contracted an illness which left her paralyzed from the waist down. Her condition did not, however, deter her from joining the WSPU in 1907 or becoming one of its best known militants.

Billinghurst was a regular participant in the WSPU’s public processions. She attracted public attention by appearing dressed in white and wheeling along with her machine decked out in coloured WSPU ribbons and “Votes for Women” banners. Billinghurst rose to prominence as a recognizable public figure and became known as “the cripple suffragette.”

For the entire post:

Photo credit: Photographed by Sheila Hanlon from original held at The Women’s Library, London School of Economics.

Sheila Hanlon

Twitter: @DrSheilaHanlon


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