Suffragette tour of Islington | Suffrajitsu
Little Angel Theatre’s spring production, Suffrajitsu, follows one young girl as she travels from rural Lancashire down to London to fight for her right to vote.
Whilst the suffrage movement took place across the country, some key events happened right here in Islington. Inspired by the show, head out on tour to explore some of the important historical locations right on your doorstep.
We have recommended a route below, but if you would like to plan your own you can use our interactive map.
Edith Garrud’s House
Real life “Suffrajitsu” and the inspiration behind our production, Edith Garrud taught the suffragettes Jiu Jitsu in order to defend herself against the police. She was only tiny, at 4ft 11 in, but she once threw a 13st policeman over her shoulder – so that shows you how strong she was!
Edith lived on Thornhill Square her whole life, from 1872-1971, and her house is commemorated with a green Islington People’s Plaque.
Directions: From Little Angel Theatre, walk west along Lofting Road (17 mins). Alternatively walk to Chapel Market (10 mins) and take the 274 bus directly to Thornhill Square.
Cat and Mouse Library
277 Camden Road
This library was named by Islington Council in reference to the Cat and Mouse Act – the law which saw suffragettes on hunger strike in Holloway Prison let back into the community for long enough to regain their strength before they were readmitted. The Pankhursts had a safe house close to the site of the library where they would look after women who were recovering.
Stop off here to visit the library’s exhibition paying homage to the suffragettes. It is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Directions: From Thornhill Square walk north on Caledonian Road/Hillmarton Rd (25 mins) or take the 17 bus from Story Street to Camden Road / Hillmarton Road.
Corner of Highbury Grove and Aberdeen Park
In November 1911 Emily Wilding Davison became the first suffragette to attempt to set fire to a pillarbox, and over the next three years suffragettes attacked pillarboxes throughout Britain as a protest to destroy the post inside. On 30 January 1913 a postman on his morning rounds discovered this box in flames; in 2018 it was marked as a listed building in honour of the centenary of the Representation of the People Act.
Directions: From the Cat and Mouse Library, walk to Tollington Road (10 mins) and take the 264 bus to Aberdeen Park. Alternatively walk along Camden Road, south on Holloway Road and cross Highbury Fields (32 mins).
Filming Location – Suffragette
Rounding off our tour by bringing history into the modern day, this square featured in the 2015 film Suffragette in the scene where Emmeline Pankhurst (played by Meryl Streep) gave a rousing speech from the balcony to assembled suffragettes.
Directions: From Highbury Grove walk south on Compton Ave / Upper Street (35 mins). Alternatively walk to St Paul’s Road (5 mins), catch the 30 bus to Penton Street / Chapel Market and walk down Claremont Square and Mylne Street (5 mins).
Suffrajitsu is on at Little Angel Theatre from 23 May – 13 July and is aimed at ages 7 – 11. Don’t forget to tag us in your posts if you visit any of the locations on our tour – @LittleATheatre (Twitter), /LittleAngelTheatre (Facebook), @littleangeltheatre (Instagram).