Cicely Hamilton


Plays by Cicely Hamilton

How the Vote Was Won (ed. Paxton)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In her introduction, Naomi Paxton writes: ‘How The Vote Was Won was and remains one of the most popular and well known suffrage plays. A brilliant ensemble piece, it is set in the living room of Horace and Ethel Cole in Brixton, London, on the day of a general women’s strike called by Suffragettes because the Government has said that women do not need votes as they are all looked after by men. All the women who have previously supported themselves agree to leave their jobs and homes and instead insist on support from their nearest male relative. As Horace’s female relatives arrive at his house one after the other, he comes to realize something must be done and rushes to Parliament, along with all the other men in London, to demand “Votes for Women” as soon as possible.'

How the Vote Was Won was first performed at the Royalty Theatre, London, on 13 April 1909, and was first published by The Woman’s Press that same year.

Pot and Kettle

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Pot and Kettle by Ciciely Hamilton and Christopher St John tells the story of young Marjorie, a newly signed-up member of the Anti-Suffrage movement, whose parents are delighted at the decision she has taken, hoping that by joining, she will meet lots of respectable and well-to-do people. They are thus in shock to see her return from a rally in floods of tears. It turns out that she has been arrested for assaulting a Suffragette, Lady Susan Pengarvon.

Described in her introduction by Naomi Paxton as ‘a comic pleasure’, Pot and Kettle was first performed at the Scala Theatre, London on 12 November 1909.

Cicely Hamilton (1892-1952) was an English atress, playwright and activist. Her first job was as a pupil-teacher; disliking it, she joined a touring company as an actress. She then turned to playwriting and her first play, The Traveller Returns, was performed in 1906. Her next, Diana of Dobsons (1908), was very successful. In 1908 she joined the Women's Freedom League and wrote two propaganda plays, How the Vote Was Won (1909) and A Pageant of Great Women (1909). She was a founder member of the Actresses' Franchise League and of the Women Writers' Suffrage League. During the First World War she nursed soldiers at the Battle of the Somme and in 1917 was asked to form a repertory company to perform plays for the Allied troops on the Western Front. After the war she became a freelance journalist. She wrote a number of books, including her autobiography, Life Errant, which was published in 1935.