Background Emily Wilding Davison (1872-1913) is one of the most famous of the Suffragettes. It was Emily Wilding Davison who threw herself under the king’s horse at the Derby of 1913 thus making her mark in history.
A Well Educated Lady As a young lady she had defied the odds a male-dominated society imposed on women, by graduating with a BA at London University and after this she gained a first class honours degree at Oxford University.
She was appalled at the lack of real opportunities women had in late Victorian society but she was especially angered by the stigma attached to all women by being denied the right to vote.
. Emily Davison became a natural follower of the Suffragettes and joined the WSPU in 1906. She took part in attacks on property. She became a leading member of the Suffragettes and was imprisoned and force-fed. On one occasion she barricaded herself in a prison cell to escape force-feeding. Her cell was flooded with ice cold water which drenched her while workmen broke down the cell door. Such treatment only made her even more determined.
On another occasion while in prison, she threw herself off of a prison upper gallery floor. • She was badly injured but realised that a Suffragette dying in prison would look bad for the authorities - who were to respond to this real threat by the introduction of the Cat and Mouse Act.
March 30th 1909 One month in prison for obstruction July 30th 1909 Two months in prison for obstruction, released after five and a half days hunger strike. September 4th 1909 Two months for stone throwing at White City, Manchester, released after two and a half days hunger strike. October 20th 1909 One month for stone throwing at Radcliffe near Manchester. Hunger strike, forcibly fed, hose-pipe incident at Strangeways prison and released at end of eight days. Prison Record
January 10th 1912 Six months for setting fire to postal boxes at Holloway, London. Released 10 days before sentence finished on account of injuries sustained in protest made against forcible feeding. November 30th 1912 Ten days for assaulting a vicar who she mistook to be David Lloyd George November 19th 1910One month for breaking windows in the House of Commons
Derby Day 1913 • Anmer struck the woman with his chest, and she was knocked over screaming. Blood rushed from her nose and mouth. The king's horse turned a complete somersault, and the jockey, Herbert Jones, was knocked off and seriously injured. An immense crowd at once invaded the course. The woman was picked up and placed in a motor car and taken in an ambulance to Epsom Cottage Hospital.
Did she mean to kill herself? • When she died, Emily was carrying a little sovereign purse . In it was a return ticket to Epsom and a diary, showing her appointments for the next week, so it suggests she hadn't intended to die. What does the evidence infer or suggest?