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26 November 2015

The Returning Officer: Suffragettes IV

By New Statesman

Barbara Bodichon Ayrton-Gould was the Labour MP for Hendon North (1945-50). She had stood for Northwich in 1924, 1929 and 1931 and the Norwood by-election in 1935. Her second name was taken from the artist and feminist pioneer Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon. Addressing the “at home” meeting of the WSPU in Hastings in January 1912, she said, “We hate doing these things but we are not only going to do things we hate but things people outside hate.”

Ayrton-Gould took part in the window-smashing of March 1912. Disagreeing with Mrs Pankhurst over the use of arson, she formed the United Suffragists with her husband, the poet Gerald Gould (later an NS fiction critic). In 1919, she was fined £10 for publishing a poster demanding the raising of the blockade on Germany.

Stephen Brasher

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This article appears in the 18 Nov 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The age of terror