Hannah Hayward

Hannah Hayward

None given



37 Cambridge Street, Coventry



Mrs Hannah Hayward became something of a local celebrity when she was arrested in London in 1911 as part of a planned WSPU rush on the House of Commons. The WSPU organised the demonstration in reaction to the government's pronounced intention to give more votes to men while refusing to include votes for women on any terms. This was contrary to a number of prior promises the government had made. The attempts by suffragettes to rush the House was described as a 'battle' during which 223 women from across the country, including Hannah, were arrested by police. She was taken to London's Bow Street station where she was charged and fined 5s. which she refused to pay. Consequently, Hannah was sentenced to 5 days in Holloway prison for her part in the event. Hannah was a working class woman, married with two children. Her husband was a driller for a motor company and the family lived in a traditional 'two up, two down' terraced house. Therefore, taking part in militant activities for the WSPU and incurring fines and/or imprisonment was a huge risk for Hannah and her family. When she returned home to Coventry, a reception was held in her honour by (see) Percy Widdrington at St Peter's vicarage at which she was lauded for her bravery and where she described her actions and aims in taking part in the rush. She described how at first 'she was alone outside the crowd...but something told her not to play the coward and so she made her way into the middle'. At some point in the melee, she clung onto a policeman's belt saying 'I am not going to be pushed into the crowd. If I go, you go with me'. The police officer arrested her and took her to the station. She claimed he treated her quite well - after she fed him some chocolate! Hannah was grateful to suffragette prisoners who had gone before her (which included fellow Coventry campaigner (see) Alice Lea) for the basic prison rights they had won for women. This she said, made her time there easier and declared that 'women intended to cry day and night unto God until some of the evils were removed' to which winning the vote itself was integral. There is no evidence so far, to suggest that Hannah took part in further suffragette activities. Perhaps her prison experience or the worry it caused her family deterred her from such action again. Researcher: Tara Morton.


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“Hannah Hayward,” Mapping Women's Suffrage, accessed October 24, 2019, https://www.mappingwomenssuffrage.org.uk/items/show/195.

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