Mrs Arthur E.W. Marshall

Kitty
Kitty Marshall 29th July 1937[1]
Mrs Arthur E.W. Marshall, “Kitty” Marshall, 62, 1870-1947, was extremely active, literally, as a suffragette, not least as the leader of Mrs Pankhurst’s Bodyguard – the “women who knew jujitsu”, and husband of lawyer Arthur Marshall who led the legal defence of the suffragettes. They camped on Putney Heath during the census boycott and she had three spells in Holloway jail. Her artwork was exhibited in the Royal Academy and elsewhere.

In the spirit of this dinner, as we try to reimagine our cast of characters, do start by listening to “Kitty” tell her own story to Kirsty Young –it is both informative and very funny at times.

SEATED BESIDE

Possibly her husband Arthur, enjoying the evening together, but also good company for all members of the table, e.g. with the modest poet Joy Scovell, or with fellow suffragist Dorothy Auld – or indeed with Mrs Gertrude Roberts of she was also in the suffrage sphere as may be correct. And there may have been further “guest of Miss Auld” keeping them all company.

WHAT’S ON HER MIND?

Probably thinking about past achievements and the struggles still to come.

KITTY’S STORY SO FAR

Emily Katherine “Kitty” Marshall née Jacques was born in West Houghton, Lancs, in July 1870, the fifth child of Caroline Augusta Baldwin (1833-1900), the daughter of the Rev. Gardnor Baldwin, vicar of Leyland, Lancs, and of the Rev. Kinton Jacques, (1838–1915) rector Brindle, Lancs, and Hon. Canon Manchester. Leyland had been in the Baldwin family from the 17th century until the early 19th century.[3] An uncle had been a famous lion hunter, “opening up Central Africa” and writing a classic book on the topic. Her brother Francis died commanding his regiment, the 14th Sikhs in the Indian Army, at Gallipoli in June 1915 and her nephew Edward died in France in August 1916. Katherine married Hugh Earnshaw Finch in 1896 but she obtained a divorce from this “cad” in 1901 (he then left for Australia). She married Arthur Edward Willoughby Marshall on 16th June 1904.

Like her husband Arthur, Kitty was very active in the suffrage movement.  In 1921 her local Chelmsford paper, when she was fund raising for the local church, wrote an appreciation headed “An Interesting Lady”:

“Mrs Marshall has always been active organising and raising funds for various worthy objects which she is interested. She took part in the Women’s Suffrage movement, and showed the courage of her convictions by undergoing more than one sentence of imprisonment, which aroused her interest in prison reform. At the outbreak of the war, after a course of training at the West Ham Infirmary, she worked for some time at the Women’s War Hospital in Endell Street. She took a prominent part in speaking for the Ongar District War Bond campaign, which resulted in a subscription of over £37.000, and her interest in Church matters and foreign missions has always been keen, and she represents locally the Universities’ Mission Central Africa. Always devoted to art, she has for the last eighteen months been studying at the Polytechnic Art School, of which Mr. Gaskell, R.E., is the head. This interest has quickened her desire to improve Chipping Ongar Parish Church, which had got into a deplorable state, and through enterprises of various kinds she has raised about £1,300 in a small place without any rich people to back her.

cards
One of Kitty’s playing cards from Holloway[4]
Along with Florence McFarlane and Winifred Mayo, Kitty was arrested with 83 others on the notorious 18th November 1910 Black Friday WPSU protest in London, being imprisoned in Holloway for her efforts – where she did get to make some rudimentary playing cards.

A typescript memoir tells of her exploits: stencilling “Votes for Women this Session” on the PM’s doorstep; allegedly smacking a policeman in the face; hunger strike (but to her regret her fine was paid anonymously); 4 arrests, 3 imprisonments; “wardrobe mistress” to Mrs Pankhurst when helping disguise Mrs Pankhurst in a crowd; throwing a potato at Winston Churchill’s fanlight; badly bruised in the “ju jitsu” fight; knocking a policeman’s helmet over his eyes whilst smuggling Mrs Pankhurst out of a back door.[5]

jiu-jitsu.png

Kitty was very much the typical suffragette “who knew ju-jitsu” as publicised in the cartoon by Arthur Wallis Mills, the father of Miss Laura Wallis Mills. Kitty established the 30 strong Pankhurst Bodyguard, to protect the leading suffragettes and in particular Mrs Pankhurst.

In the 1911 census “Mrs Marshall and Suffragists party” were registered as living in caravans on Putney Heath (noting they were “of Theydon Bois, Essex”). The form lists her, Mr Marshall and 9 women, unnamed but listed as Mrs.. Her fellow detainee of that night, Winifred Mayo, was similarly crossing out her name on her census form in protest – “No vote, no census”.[1]

In 1922 Kitty appears in the phone book at 15 Gayfere St SW1. Mrs Marshall, was the Hon Secretary of WSPU or NUWT in 1929 when a fund was being raised in memory of Mrs Pankhurst (she had also opened the Pankhurst Testimonial Fund to buy Mrs P a house in Devon).[2]

In 1927 the Marshalls were living at The Old House, Ongar, Essex (noted from register of the P&O’s Narkunda when they sailed from Gibraltar to London).

WHAT KITTY DID NEXT

Though her jujitsu days were probably over, being in her early sixties, Kitty and Alfred were active members in their local community in Sible Hedingham, Essex, where they had moved in 1932, just prior to the dinner. In 1939 their address was Bridge House, Halstead, Alfred having retired and Kitty styled rather unusually as wife of No. 1. – the 1939 census gave full dates of birth, and occupations – the authorities wanted to know where the skills were as Britain prepared for war – but no places of birth or relationships.

Kitty died aged 77 on 28th November 1947, predeceasing Arthur. In the local newspaper tribute “She was a Friend of Mrs Pankhurst” the author also wrote: “Mrs. Marshall had exhibited paintings in the Royal Academy, the Royal Institute, the New English Art Club and other exhibitions. She was also a skilled weaver on her own loom and held a first class certificate of the Kensington School of Weaving. She was a clever wood carver. A keen gardener, too, and in her day she had been a good tennis player and golfer.”[8] In 1940 she also played the organ in her local church on Remembrance Sunday.

Quite a lady!

Kitty is not to be confused with Catherine Elizabeth Marshall (1880–1961), suffragist and internationalist born in Keswick. Perhaps that is why she was known as Kitty at the time?

BACK TO TABLE 22


[1] From blog website www.emelynegodfrey.com where it is reproduced by kind permission of Chris Jacques.

[2] Tessa Coates, Kitty Marshall ‘The Suffragette who knew ju-jitsi’, 22.1.2017, accessed 5.4.2019

[3] An Interesting Lady, Chelmsford Chronicle, 1.4.1921 p5,

[4] Museum of London Collections online https://collections.museumoflondon.org.uk/online/object/43292.html

[5] Emily Katherine Willoughby Marshall, “Suffragette Escapes and Adventures”, Museum of London Suffrage Collections, pp 57 – 58, cited in Diane Atkinson, Rise up Women: the Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes, Bloomsbury Publishing 2018.

[6] Suffrage stories: the Putney Caravans https://womanandhersphere.com/2012/08/20/suffrage-stories-the-putney-caravans/

[7] The Woman Teacher, 1.2.1929, p124 http://ioearc.da.ulcc.ac.uk/8402/1/TheWomanTeacherVol10No14.PDF

[8] Suffolk and Essex Free Press 18.12.1947 p4

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