A visit to London is always something to enjoy. The City is literally overspilling with things to do, many of which involve delving into its intriguing history. While London has numerous museums to visit (lots of them free!), you might want to keep an eye out for the 'Blue Plaques' dotted around the City that commemorate the famous people, event or building that once lived in or existed on the site on your way. The 'Blue Plaques' are overseen by English Heritage and there are nearly 1000 in London alone. Here are just two that you can visit this Summer, which commemorate female pioneers.
Lady Nancy Astor was indeed the first woman to sit in the British Parliament as an elected MP in December 1919. However, she was not the first lady elected to Parliament. That was actually Constance Markievicz in 1918. However, as Constance was a member of Sinn Fein, she did not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the British Parliament and refused to take her seat, as Sinn Fein MP's still do today.
Three things to know about Lady Nancy Astor.
1) Lady Nancy Astor was not actually born in the UK. She was born in Danville, Virginia, USA in 1879. 2) She was a devoted supporter of the nursery schools established by Margaret McMillan. 3) Lady Nancy Astor sat as the Conservative Party MP for Plymouth Sutton until 1945, before stepping down.
Where to find Lady Nancy Astor's Blue Plaque
Hungry? Here's where to eat after you've found it! If you fancy something a little spicy, then you should really consider paying Kricket a visit! Having branched out from their original Brixton beginnings, they offer a range of exciting Indian-inspired fayre. Patrons can sit at tables or dine casually at the bar, watching as the food is prepared. Kricket have both Twitter and Instagram platforms where you can take a pre-peek at the options available. If this isn't enough, check out their reviews on Tripadvisor. If you decide to go, let @VersusHistory know what you thought of it!
Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst were tireless campaigners for the right of women to vote in UK elections. It may perhaps come as a surprise to learn that women did not have voting rights on the same terms as men in UK parliamentary elections until 1928. By 1928, women in many countries, including Australia (1902), USA (1920) and Sweden (1919) already enjoyed that right. The Pankhurst's spearheaded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), founded in 1903, which protested - sometimes outside of the boundaries of what was considered legal - for the right to vote.
Three things to know about Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst
1) The Pankhurst's became disillusioned with the progress made towards the right to vote of the existing female suffrage group led by Millicent Fawcett, the 'National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies'. In 1903, they broke away, forming the more radical 'Women's Social and Political Union'. 2) In 1906 the Daily Mail newspaper nicknamed the members of the WSPU as 'Suffragettes', intending it as a pejorative term. 3) In 1913, Emmeline was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for her campaigning activities. She and other Suffragettes went on hunger strike. The government responded to this tactic by passing what became known as the 'Cat and Mouse Act', where those Suffrage campaigners who went on hunger strike were released from prison to regain strength and then subsequently re-arrested.
Where to find the Blue Plaque for Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst
Where to eat after you've found it?!
Why not try Aphrodite Greek Taverna near Notting Hill Gate Tube Station? They offer a wide range of tantalising and authentic cuisine choices and are also able to accommodate those with special dietary requirements, such as Gluten-Free and Vegan diners. By all accounts, the food is delicious, authentic and served with a warm smile. The reviews on TripAdvisor can be found here. Go check it out and tell them that @VersusHistory gave you the tip-off for this hidden gem!
Thanks for reading - now go check out the Blue Plaques! Tweet us with any snaps that you happen to take ... of the plaques and the food!