Ruth and Theodora Mills

Ruth and Theodora Mills

Private means

67 & 37

Widowed & Single

Lowmandale (59) Leckhampton Road, Cheltenham



Mother and daughter, Ruth and Theodora Mills, claimed to have been interested in the cause long before Theodora became Honorary Secretary of the Cheltenham branch of the law abiding NUWSS in 1902 - a post she retained for the remainder of the society's life time. Ruth and Theodora campaigned in the villages outlying their home in Cheltenham and experienced some rough treatment in so doing. Ruth, a frail woman, had to be rescued by a policeman when the 1913 NUWSS Pilgrimage met a stormy reception. Theodora was involved in deputations, letter-writing and dramatic and musical roles for suffrage social gatherings. She wrote the words to five songs which were included in the WSPU's 1907 Song Sheet and her words set to the tune of 'Onward Christian Soldiers' won an international competition. She took pride in the society's banners and presented one which she used in the June 1908 London demonstration, to what is now the Wilson Museum in the town. In a local test case of 1909, Ruth and Theodora with six others, claimed a parliamentary vote: this was largely a WFL initiative and, somewhat unusually in a time of greater differentiation between suffragists and suffragettes, both Mills ladies were still on the WFL committee before its local leader, Florence Earengey, decided to break ties with other societies. Their census resistance in 1911 was also unusual among local NUWSS members. Generally, NUWSS members as law abiding suffragists, complied with the census. Ruth Mills wrote across the form 'I did not pass the night of April 2nd, 1911 in this dwelling nor arrived during Monday morning. House being locked and left empty. and do not know how many if any persons did so.' Mother and daughter continued to live in the family house with Theodora often writing letters to the local press, either about the history of women's suffrage or about her vegetarian beliefs. Ruth Mills died in 1922 and Theodora in 1958. Researched and contributed by Sue Jones author of 'Votes for Women: Cheltenham and the Cotswolds' (The History Press, 2018).


sue jones CensusformMills (3).JPG



“Ruth and Theodora Mills,” Mapping Women's Suffrage, accessed November 21, 2019,

Output Formats

Item Relations

This item has no relations.

working in partnership with