Miss Muriel Lilah Matters

Gender: Female

Marital Status: Single

Born: 1877

Died: 1969

Place of birth: Bowden, Adelaide, Australia

Education: Music degree

Occupation: Actor

Main Suffrage Society: WFL

Other Societies: NCSWS; CLWS; WSPU

Arrest Record: Yes

Recorded Entries: 1


Other sources: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C4769024
Elizabeth Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866?1928 (1999)

Database linked sources: https://www.suffrageresources.org.uk/resource/3229/the-womens-freedom-league

Further Information:

Additional Information: Muriel probably arrived in England from Australia in about 1905, to further her career, and joined the WSPU shortly afterwards. However, she was very impressed with one campaigner, Charlotte Despard, and so followed her when she broke away from the WSPU in 1907 to form the Women's Freedom League (WFL). In 1908, Muriel padlocked herself to the 'vile grill behind which women have to sit in the House of Commons', which she saw as a symbol of the barrier between 'us and liberty'. She spent some time on a caravan tour, spreading the word on votes for women, and in 1909 arranged a spectacular stunt ? hiring a large airship painted with 'Votes for Women', which sailed past the House of Commons on the day that Parliament opened, and 21 members of the WFL were arrested for attempting to interview ministers at Downing Street. Muriel and other suffragettes tracked the airship by chasing it in a car! She then spent some time in Wales, organising for the WFL there, before returning to Australia for a few months in 1910. Upon her return, she joined the New Constitutional Society for Women's Suffrage (NCSWS) and the Church League for Women's Suffrage (CLWS). In 1911, she illegally 'resisted' providing her personal information for the government census survey, writing across her form, 'No Vote, No Census' at her address at 91 Fentiman Road, Lambeth, London. She appears to have moved from the WFL to the law-abiding NUWSS at some point in 1913, speaking at numerous events and meetings. During the war, she was a member of the British Dominions Woman Suffrage Union.

Other Suffrage Activities: Muriel ran Sylvia Pankhurst's model school for young children, based in Bow, London during the First World War and, in 1915, was organising secretary for the British Committee of the International Council of Women. She was also involved in a peace crusade in Glasgow. In 1924, she stood unsuccessfully as a Labour Party candidate in Hastings, Sussex, and in 1934, was a committee member of the Women's Guild of Empire.

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