BELLAGHY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Tuesday, FEBRUARY 14th, 2012.
CLIVE SCOULAR: SUFFRAGISM
Hannah Sheehy Skeffington, b.1877. Educated St. Maryʼs College, Belfast, BA and MA.
Her father, david Sheehy, MP, member IRB; her uncle Fr. Eugene Sheehy, involved with
Michael Davitt, Land League. Visitors to family home included Parnell.
Married Francis Skeffington 1903-both took both names!
Became involved with Irish Womenʼs Franchise League along with Constance Marcievik
and maud Gonne, and became more militant as rime progressed.
Suffragist-one promotes by constitutional means;
Suffragette-more violent means.
HSS-arrested and imprisoned and on hunger strike many times. She met James Connolly,
socialist, who helped her-the only man to do so.
1909-gives birth to son, Eoghan.
1913-the Dublin Lockout.
1916-Easter Rising. FSS, anti- looter campaigner; on day two of rising, arrested, brought
to Portobello barracks, met Capt. Coldhurst and shot along with two journalists.
HSSʼs fight for vote put on hold til she fought Dublin Castle and English Government over
FSSʼs execution. She met the PM and eventually, Coldhurst was court marshalled,
declared insane and found guilty of the unlawful death of the three.
1918-HSS went to USA to give lectures/fundraise for womenʼs rights. Stayed several
years; met US president. Returned to Ireland after WW1. Women over 30 allowed vote.
Before WW1, 700,000 on electoral register (population 5.5million); after WW1, 2 million on
Emily Pankhurst died day before vote over 30 for women announced.
HSS became involved with families of prisoners.
1927-Constance Marcievik dies;HSS executor of her will.
1930s-travelled to Russia for international womenʼs conference. Met maud Gonne &
After WW2, dies, aged 68.
Charlotte French Dispard, b. 1844, Kent, England.
Brother of John French, last Viceroy of Ireland.
Interested in Garibaldiʼs politics.
Married Despard, Laois-self made, wealthy(tea), 1870-had never previously been to
Ireland. Travels world with husband & sees what women are not entitled to. Despard dies
after 17 years marriage-no children.
CD back in London & starts good work.
1890s-Battersea-opened community centres for poor, elderly, disadvantaged.
Charlie Chaplin, his mother & brother were helped by CD in this way.
She pushed the needs of women in every organisation/socoety she was in.
1909/10- CD bombarded PM about the situation. She realised constitutional means not
enough. Was imprisoned several times, where she met Maud Gonne and Constance
Marcievik.Met Connolly in Dublin during lockout.
After WW1, people more pacified.
1918-stood for Battersea seat and lost by few thousand votes.
1921 (aged77)-moved back to live in Ireland-met M. Gonne again-they set up Roebuck
House together, a co-operative, food growing/sales, very successful.
1927-de Valera wanted CD and MG in Westminster for announcement of womenʼs vote.
At 86, CD went to Russia for womenʼs conference & met HSS there.
1934, aged 90, left Dublin for Belfast, Newtownards Rd., and became involved with
women/children of East Belfast.
1935, built house at Whitehead, Co. Antrim (house still there).
Died aged 95.
BELLAGHY HISTORICAL SOCIETY