Mrs Helen Alexander Archdale

Gender: Female

Marital Status: Married

Born: 1876

Died: 1950

Place of birth: Nenthorn, Berwickshire, Scotland

Education: St Leonards School, St Andrews; St Andrews University

Main Suffrage Society: WSPU

Society Role: Organiser

Arrest Record: Yes

Recorded Entries: 2


Other sources:
Elizabeth Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866?1928 (1999)

Further Information:

Family information: Father was editor of The Scotsman newspaper, and supported the campaign for women's entry into medical school. Married Lt. Colonel Archdale in 1901, based in India.

Additional Information: Helen joined the WSPU in 1908 on her return from India. She took part in the WSPU Scottish demonstration in Edinburgh in 1909. She was arrested and convicted, along with several other women, for breach of the peace for disturbing a meeting attended by Winston Churchill in Dundee. She went on hunger strike but she was not force-fed and neither were her fellow captives. All were released after a few days in prison. In 1910, she worked briefly as an organiser in Sheffield, and later moved to London, where she worked as the WSPU prisoners' secretary (organising information and providing comforts where possible). There, with Adela Pankhurst, she organised a mass evasion of the government's 1911 census survey as part of a wider suffrage boycott. In 1911, she was also arrested and imprisoned for two months in Holloway for breaking a window in London. After her release, she resumed her role as prisoner secretary, as well as acting as sub-editor and occasionally printer of the Suffragette newspaper when it went underground.

Other Suffrage Activities: Helen had broad feminist interests, most of which became apparent in a formal sense during and after the war. She worked for the Ministry of National Service between 1917 and 1918; was international secretary of the Six Point Group of Great Britain until 1933, which fought for women's equality; was chairman of Equal Rights International; worked on liaison committees for the Women's International Organisations; was a member of the Open Door International and the Open Door Council, both of which worked for women's employment opportunities and fair wages; and was a member of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, the British Institute of Journalists and the Women's Electrical Association (having herself written articles for The Times, The Daily News, The Scotsman and other newspapers).

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