Schools across Scotland receive hundreds of Scottish suffrage resources from group of artists Protests and Suffragettes

A mainly voluntary group of artists, activists and local historians have sent out free Education Packs on Scottish Suffrage to a hundred schools across Scotland to raise awareness for an ‘often overlooked’ history.

S4 students at Lenzie Academy interact with the Suffragette Trumps Cards and Education Pack.
S4 students at Lenzie Academy interact with the Suffragette Trumps Cards and Education Pack.

The packs created by the group Protests & Suffragettes, celebrate women who campaigned across Scotland for the right to vote 100 years ago.

Around 1,000 free zines and 700 decks of playing cards are being shipped to schools from Shetland to Stranraer.

The 100 Education Packs mainly designed for late primary and early secondary highlight a part of Scottish history which is ‘often overlooked’, according to the group, and have taken the group a full year to develop.

Dundonian Ethel Moorhead, who features in the Scottish Suffragette Trumps, had a connection with a school in Edinburgh that received the packs.

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Each Education pack is designed to work with 30 students, resulting in 3,000 young people who can use these resources at any one time.

One pack contains ‘Suffragette Trumps’ cards, booklets or zines on 'Rent Strikers & Suffragettes', and over 75 pages of lesson plans and teaching resources designed by professional educators at Braw Talent.

The trump cards highlight important Scottish women in the fight for women’s rights including expert heckler Lila Clunas and Dr Elsie Inglis who founded the Scottish Women's Hospitals.

In developing the resource, Lead Artist Dr T. S. Beall said: “We asked ourselves, ‘How many Scottish suffragettes can you name?’

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An Education Pack contains Suffragette Trump cards, booklets or zines on Rent Strikers & Suffragettes, lesson plans and teaching resources.

"We realised that much of the history taught in Scottish schools does not include activists who campaigned in Scotland – it’s as if there wasn't much going on here. But that’s just not the case.

"There were women and men in every corner of the country who fought for the vote 100-plus years ago.

"So, we set out to develop a resource that highlights the incredible work of Scottish suffragettes and suffragists.”

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Dr. Yvonne McFadden from Women’s History Scotland said: “It’s been amazing to see this project progress, and we have been delighted to collaborate with and support P&S in researching Scottish suffrage.

"Women’s histories are underrepresented in the Scottish school curriculum so this resource is a fun and important tool to make sure these women and their stories are included.”

They produced ’Scotland's Suffragette Trumps’ playing cards to introduce these histories to young people in a creative, memorable way.

The deck features over 40 women activists from Scotland, and around the world, who campaigned here.

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During the distribution of the packs it was found out by the group that one of the suffragettes featured in the cards attacked a teacher at one of the nine schools in Edinburgh which received the packs.

Ethel Moorhead – dubbed a ‘rebel with a cause’ and ranked 10 for ‘gallusness’ on the Trumps – had a bone to pick with a Maths teacher at Broughton High in Edinburgh.

Ethel, who was known for chucking an egg at Winston Churchill, moved from Dundee to Edinburgh and went to a meeting in 1903 addressed by Sir Rufus Isaacs, a man who had recently prosecuted Emily Pankhurst and the Pethick-Lawrences.

When Ethel and eight other women members of the WSPU who attended tried to ask questions, they were pushed out and Ethel was hit ‘hard in the ribs’ by a man in the crowd.

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Not one to accept this meekly, she was determined on revenge.

Writing to her friend at the time, Ethel wrote: “A man hit me hard in the ribs, an obstinate-looking man with glasses; I do not know who he is, but am determined to find out.”

Within three weeks, Ethel had tracked down the culprit – a secondary school teacher called Peter Ross.

On a day long remembered by his pupils, Ethel marched into Broughton High and into his classroom where he was teaching around thirty 17-19-year-olds, according to the book Ethel Moorhead: Dundee’s Rowdiest Suffragette by Mary Henderson.

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Ethel shut the door behind her, and hit his face with a whip she was carrying and his spectacles fell off.

Dundee’s rebel woman was then taken to the headmaster’s room where she hit Peter Ross again.

Kirsty Thomson, a teacher at Broughton High said: “We want to teach our pupils about local history.

"It’s so important that our young people know women weren’t campaigning for the right to vote only in England or at Westminster.

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"The fight was local; Scotland, Edinburgh.

"In fact these top trumps have a name very pertinent to our own school of Broughton High School: Ethel Moorhead - a suffragette who came into Broughton in 1903 and attacked Peter Ross, the head of Maths, with a whip, as he was teaching. She accused him of assaulting her at a meeting and she wanted to bring about justice.

"These packs are great for bringing these women to life; giving each of them their place in History and I’m glad their stories will be told in Scottish classrooms and all their efforts remembered.”

Protests & Suffragettes is currently fundraising by selling cards, zines, and posters for the festive season to give away another hundred more free or subsidised Education Packs in 2022.

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The group say they want to inspire the next generation of changemakers, teaching young people about activism in every corner of Scotland, increasing civic engagement, and raising the profile of Scottish suffragettes.

Over Lockdown 2020, they ran a crowdfunder, raising £20,400 from 277 individual donors, with match funding from Creative Scotland.

Louise Walker, History Teacher at Langholm Academy, Dumfries and Galloway said: “The Trump cards are brilliant and are the first time I have seen such a range of Scottish females remembered or even named for their protests.

“It really is lovely to see information on these women.

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"The SQA and Education Scotland provide teachers with guidelines for learning, but the information is broad and requires time to find examples we can use in the classroom.”

After playing the Trumps, one student from Ross High School, East Lothian said: “It was really fun! And educational. Helps to interact with other classmates.”

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