Miss Gertrude Mary Ansell

Gender: Female

Marital Status: Single

Born: 1861

Died: 1932

Place of birth: Bloomsbury, Middlesex, England

Occupation: Proprieter of typing business

Main Suffrage Society: WSPU

Arrest Record: Yes

Recorded Entries: 4


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

Further Information:

Additional Information: A successful businesswoman, Gertrude joined the WSPU in 1906, believing that militancy would achieve the vote, without which women's economic position would never improve. In 1908, she seems to have sold her business, and later that year was arrested after taking part in the October 'raid' on the House of Commons. She was imprisoned for one month in Holloway. She was present at the Women's Liberal Association meeting, during which WSPU 'hecklers' dressed in prison clothes constantly interrupted Lloyd George's speech, and where Helen Ogston wielded a dog whip against stewards at the meeting. Her involvement with animal rights campaigns alongside the women's suffrage movement (see Other Activities) quietened her militancy for a time. However, in 1913, she smashed a Home Office window and was sentenced to a month in prison. She went on hunger and thirst strike, refusing even to take water, and was released a few days after her imprisonment under the 'Cat and Mouse Act' ? to be rearrested when she had recovered. She evaded recapture for a time but was finally rearrested later that year, selling the Suffragette newspaper at a London tube station. She repeated this cycle of hunger and thirst striking, release and rearrest over the next year. In 1914, she damaged a picture of the Duke of Wellington in the Royal Academy and was sentenced to a further six months in prison. This time she was not released as a result of her hunger and thirst strike and instead was forcibly fed. She was finally released in August 1914 under the Home Office amnesty, having been force-fed a staggering 236 times.

Other Suffrage Activities: Gertrude campaigned for animal rights throughout her life, being secretary and honorary secretary of two organisations and a committee member. She promised these committees not to become too embroiled in suffrage militancy, and held true until two animal rights acts that she had been working on (the Dogs Exemption Bill and the Plumage Bill) were both defeated in the House of Commons. She then resumed her militancy.

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