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Adventures of a teenage suffragette from Honley; Dora inspired by speech given at Huddersfield Market Cross.

DORA Thewlis was born in Honley in 1890, one of several children born to James and Eliza Thewlis.

At the time of Dora's birth James was working as a weaver - not a well-paid occupation - and Eliza and her eldest daughter were also working in the mill.

At the age of 10 Dora would has ve also worked in the mill part-time and spent the rest of the day at school.

Education ended at 12 and fulls -time work among the looms beckoned, along with dangerous conditions and poor pay. s There is nothing particularly remarkable here - this was the lot of thousands of families at the time.

People spent little time in one house, having to move to where the work was.

What makes Dora's life so fascinating occurred when she reached the age of 16.

In 1906 she witnessed an inspirational lady called Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst speak to the crowds at Market Cross in Huddersfield.

From that moment, she was thrown into an adventure which took her far from home - to the bustling streets of London.

It is not long before Dora finds herself in prison.

Her crime? Marching through the city with an army of suffragettes, demanding women get the right to vote.

Dora's life, women's struggles and, indeed, the struggles of ordinary folk to make ends meet, are brought to life in a new book by Sue Reid.

Give Us The Vote! - part of the My True Story series - is a semi-fictional account of real people dealing with real issues.

Dora's tale may be partly a product of the imagination, but the author has spent much time researching to provide copious detail of the subject and her struggles.

"When I first saw the picture postcard of a young suffragette outside Parliament, her arms in the grip of two burly policemen, I was intrigued," said Sue.

"Who was she, I wondered. How did such a young girl come to be a suffragette? "We will probably never know the whole truth of Dora's involvement with the suffragette movement in 1906-07, but there is one thing we can be sure of: Dora's courage and commitment, which took her to London and then to prison for the cause," she added.

Sue Reid has written several books in the Scholastic Children's Books My Story series.

Give Us The Vote, primarily an educational tool, will no doubt find favour among a wider Huddersfield readership, not least because it deals with a determined Honley lass devoted to a cause.

The blend of fact and fiction should not detract from what is a compelling tale of courage, misery and humiliation set in a turning point in the history of women.

* Give Us The Vote! by Sue Reid, Scholastic Children's Books, pounds 6.99 (paperback)


WOMEN'S MOVEMENT: Main picture, the cover of Sue Reid's book, and, above, Eleanor Rathbone MP supporting the Liverpool women's suffragette movement, pictured third left (TM copyright) INSPIRATION: Right, Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst making a speech in 1910 and above a photo portrait
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 23, 2011
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