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Emily Davison

Emily DavisonEmily Davison Emily Davison (1872–1913) was an English suffragette who was fatally injured at the Epsom Derby in 1913 when she stepped out on to the racetrack and collided with King George V’s horse. In Britain at the start of the 20th century, women could not vote in parliamentary elections or stand as MPs. Campaigners for women’s suffrage—the right to vote—had set up groups in most major towns. In 1903 a new militant organization, the Women’s Social and Political Union, was founded in Manchester led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel. Members of this new group were called suffragettes and would use any means necessary, including violence, to get the vote. Some women, for example, chained themselves to railings, broke shop windows and attacked paintings in the National Gallery in London. Many, including Emily Davison, went to prison.

Emily Davison as a graduateEmily Davison as a graduate


Emily Wilding Davison was born on 11th October 1872 in Greenwich, Kent. She was a clever student, but was limited by the educational opportunities offered to women at that time. She won a scholarship to Royal Holloway College, and then attended Oxford University where she achieved first-class honours in her final exams. She could not graduate, however, because Oxford did not award degrees to women. She found work as a teacher, before taking a degree at the University of London. 

On the night of the 1911 census (population count), Davison hid in a cupboard in the Houses of Parliament, in order that she could state her place of residence that night as the "House of Commons".

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