MAPPING WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE 1911
A Snapshot in time
Binley Road, Coventry (2 houses away from 20 Binley Road & next to 'Whitmore' house).
Ethel was born Ethel Mary Evans in Birmingham in 1866. She later married Dr. William Richardson Rice who was appointed medical officer to district one of the Coventry Union in 1903, a post he held until his death in 1912. Dr. Rice was also active locally in St John's Ambulance and several other health and welfare charities and committees. He was described as a 'socialist' and once stood unsuccessfully as a Labour Party candidate. Ethel too was very active in the Coventry charitable work, sitting on the Coventry committee of the NSPCC and taking the office of Honorary Treasurer of the Coventry branch of the National Anti-Vivisection Society in 1905. In November 1908, she attended a local WSPU meeting where Christabel and Sylvia Pankhurst spoke, and to which police were called as suffragette speakers were heckled by opposers in the crowd. Press reports describe the meeting as descending into 'Uproarious Scenes'. Ethel had already attended the reception held for Coventry suffragette (see) Alice Lea on her release from prison earlier that year, but the meeting may have reinforced her support as she was a prominent figure at many WSPU meetings thereafter, often held at the city's 'Lounge Cafe'. Ethel also held several WSPU meetings at her own home - in 1911 at Binley Road and in 1912 at Gosford Terrace. In 1911, Ethel took part in the suffragette boycott of the goverment census survey that year in protest at not having the vote. She did supply her details but also wrote across the form: 'I give this information under protest not being considered a person in the eyes of the law'. Her husband Dr. Rice is absent from the form and no mention is made of him. He had suffered a nervous breakdown just a few years beforehand, so may have been convalescing elsewhere at that time. He died in August 1912, and Ethel relocated to London shortly afterwards. There she changed her mind on suffrage tactics. She now believed that the best way for women to gain the vote was to focus less on militant action, and to become active in local politics, occupying as many local government positions as was possible. Hence, Ethel stood for a position on Hendon Council in 1914 and was successfully elected, stating that: 'Women were waking up to a sense of their duty and their was room for women on all councils'. She was supported in her campaign by the another recent settler in London from Coventry, suffrage campaigner (see) Rev. Canon Masterman. Clearly, Coventry votes for women ties were strong. Ethel died in London in July 1944. Researcher: Tara Morton.
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