It was an honour to attend the Annual Ladies Lecture and Lunch at the Glaziers Hall as a guest of the Master’s Lady, Suzanne Galloway, whom I’d met in another life as a fellow student in Oxford’s Continuing Education Department. The lecture, entitled ‘Tales from The Women’s Library at the London School of Economics’ was given by Liz Chapman, the recently retired Director of Library Services. The Women’s Library holds a huge collection of archives, objects and books which document women’s struggle for their rights over the last 150 years. Liz Chapman showed us photos of some very special items, for example: the diary of the artist Katie Glidden written secretly in the margins of a book of Shelley’s poems while she was in Holloway Prison; the race card of Emily Davison and her return rail ticket to the races; and some beautiful designs for suffragette banners by Mary Lowndes. At the end she read us the deeply sad letter from Emily Davison’s mother, sent to Emily as she lay dying in hospital. And she finished with a plea to use our vote and encourage young women to do so. It is a sobering thought that so many do not, when one remembers how much was sacrificed in order to get it. Over lunch, overlooking the Thames, we talked on till the dining room was closed. At our table at least there was much further discussion of women’s issues and for me at least a renewed appreciation of my vote, my education, and my very good fortune to be where I was on a lovely spring day in 2015.
Ladies’ Lecture celebrating some brave women