Monday, February 21, 2011

The World of Women

The Sligo Times 1913 had a regular feature The World of Women which occupied almost a half a page. Full of what you might expect, of its time. I presume it was a syndicated column, bought in from the UK. I haven't read it in any detail but I see no particular Irish slant. Conducted by Violette Deschamps, whoever she was. Nothing on the internet as far as I can find.

The paper did cover the suffragette campaign in Sligo in 1913. There was a Sligo Branch of the Irish Women’s Suffrage Federation and they held open air meetings at Rosses Point during the summer months on Wednesday afternoons - half day in Sligo I suppose. These were often well attended and the speakers included English suffragette Miss Kineton Parkes and Dora Mellone from (what is now) Northern Ireland. Miss Alice Abadam, a UK suffragette, spoke at a meeting in Sligo Town Hall in 1913

The organiser of the Sligo branch appears to have been Olga Crichton from Carrowgarry, Beltra west of Sligo town. She was married to local landowner Alexander Crichton. He was very involved in the music scene in sligo at the time. An internet search reveals that her maiden name was Olga Bestujeff Bieneman, born circa 1864. She was the daughter of Johannes Bieneman of Brighton. She married in 1884 and died in 1948.

The suffrage campaign in Sligo and indeed in much of the UK ceased with the outbreak of war in 1914. Two of Olga's sons took part in the war, her eldest, 29 year old Alexander Godfrey Crichton, died at the Dardenelles in August 1915.

My father's people were from the Beltra area and I have a feeling that he and/or some of his brothers worked for the Crichtons at some stage. If so they must have met Olga.

All this is fascinating and a great example of how you get sidetracked when researching newspapers. At best the Sligo suffragettes will get a paragraph in my Irish Revolution book. Now when that's finished - well there's the book on silent movies in Sligo 1909-1929 and then . . . . . .


Patricia Byrne said...

Michael, I agree. I just don't seem to be able to go through a newspaper archive in a single-minded way, keeping an eye only on the topic I'm researching. But then, this is what makes it so enjoyable - the unexpected little gems that lead to a digression and the wonderful little stories tucked into a few lines. P

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Michael - Olga Crichton was my great great grandmother and i'm pleased to see that she was a feminist - good on her! Thanks for making the info available.

Happy researching,

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

Details about Olga's son, Alexander Godfrey Crichton, are available on the Sherborne School Book of Remembrance pages on Flickr