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Meet... Lucienne Boyce

Lucienne Boyce is a Bristol-based author who writes historical fiction and non-fiction. She has published three historical novels set in the eighteenth century, and a history of the suffragette movement in Bristol and the west country. Her website and blog are rich resources for suffragette information and Lucienne is collecting personal stories from people with suffragettes in their family - if you have one of those do get in touch and contribute to this collection of social history.

Q. What prompted you to write 'The Bristol Suffragettes'?

I became interested in the history of the women’s suffrage movement when I lived in London but like many people, I had the impression that was where it all happened. However, a few years later I moved to Bristol and was rummaging though a postcard stall in St Nicholas Market when I came across a photograph of a group of local women standing under a suffrage banner. That was when I realised that the movement was not just in the capital, but all over the country. From then I was hooked on finding out about Bristol’s suffrage history. Of course, nowadays we are all much more aware of the local aspects of the movement and lots of people are doing fantastic work on local history.

Q: What activities are you involved with  / looking forward to this year which celebrate the Centenary?

Goodness, where to start! I’ve done more talks than I can keep count of, as well as radio and television interviews, with lots more events coming up. I’m also in the middle of a fund raising campaign for a Blue Plaque at the house where Bristol’s first women’s suffrage society was founded, with the generous permission and support of the owner. [Click here for more info and to donate].

But the biggest thing on my horizon is a day of commemorative events I’m organising and participating in with the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network – I’m a member of the steering committee -  at Bristol MShed on Saturday 30 June. There will be talks, a walk, the showing of the film Make More Noise: Suffragettes in Silent Film, the performance of Cicely Hamilton’s 1910 comedy How the Vote Was Won, a panel event looking at what the vote has achieved and what has yet to be achieved, and much more! The WESWWHN is working in partnership with Bristol MShed, Bristol Libraries, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England – and there’s more information at

Frustratingly, though, with all this going on I haven’t got as much time as I’d like to spend on the biography I’m writing of suffrage campaigner Millicent Browne, so I’m looking forward to being able to get on with that when the commemoration’s out of the way.

Q: Picking up on the aims of the Suffragettes - what are your hopes for the future in  terms of women's rights?

Well, I think we are all aware that many of the issues the suffrage campaigners were concerned about – equal opportunities, equal pay, better health care provision and so on – are still a long way from full achievement. But if I had to pick one goal pursued by many suffrage campaigners – women like Emmeline Pethick Lawrence or Mabel Tothill, both of Bristol, who were involved in the founding of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – it would be peace work. Inequality is at the root of conflict – so my hope for the future is that we will do away with inequality to arrive at a just and peaceful world.

If you would like to buy Lucienne's book The Bristol Suffragettes - it's available at all the big stores (Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles) or you can order a signed copy directly from the author (which is what I would do if I hadn't bought one in a hurry because I needed the map for my Bristol walk).


Twitter: @LucienneWrite


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London - March 17

Well, the weather was freezing, it was wild, windy and snowing but nevertheless, I persisted in carrying out my planned walk of London (with trusty companions, Ruth and Marcus).

There are so many suffragette related sites in London I couldn't visit them all. Therefore I walked between some major sites and stopped off at two special, centenary events.

Hyde Park was the scene of regular suffragette meetings and speeches. It was also where, on June 21st 1908, a spectacular procession, a 'monster meeting' took place. 30,000 suffragettes carrying 700 banners converged and drew crowds of 300,000 - 500,000 onlookers. This marked the introduction of the  WSPU 'brand colours' of green, white and purple. It was the largest number of people gathered in Hyde Park for political purpose (source: and the park was awash with suffragette colours in the clothing, banners and sashes of the activists.

The colours had meaning - purple for dignity and loyalty, white for purit…

Walking in her shoes, her dress, her hat...

I will be Walking in Her Shoes this March to celebrate the suffrage centenary of 1918, to find out more about the history of the Suffragettes and the centenary activities taking place around the UK and to raise funds for CARE International, who work to empower women worldwide.

If you have met me along the way and would like to support CARE please do so on my Just Giving page

Bristol - March 24th

I have been to Bristol a few times but do not know it well. I had the wonderful company of my friends Emma and Giselle.

Prior to my visit I was lucky to connect with some of today's inspirational Bristolian women and discover more about the history and the fantastic work that's going on in Bristol today. I spoke to authors Jane Duffus and Lucienne Boyce. Penny Gane, Chair of Bristol Women's Voice and Ellie Vowels, Coordinator - Bristol Women's Voice. Thank you, all of you, for taking the time to talk to me.

Clutching the map from 'The Bristol Suffragettes' by Lucienne Boyce, an e-map from Jane Duffus (author of 'The Women who built Bristol') and Emma's local knowledge we alighted at Bristol Temple Meads with a plan and much anticipation. First stop was Harts Bakery. Although not  suffragette related it was full of delicious cakes. We settled in to plot our course and soon, we too were full of delicious cakes. (It is well documented that suffragettes…