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Gladice Keevil

Gladice Keevil

Early Life

Gladice Georgina Keevil was born in 1884 at Clitterhouse farm in Cricklewood, where her father was a dairyman. The Brent gasworks were built on farm lands and other parts were auctioned off to build sewage works and Hendon fever hospital. She attended the Frances Mary Buss school in Camden, London and Lambeth Art School before working as a governess for 18 months in France and the United States.

Activism

Gladice joined the WSPU in 1907 and became a popular speaker at events. The Daily News described her as ‘a particularly striking figure who ‘scolded’ and ‘smiled’ beneath a black straw hat with a waving white ostrich feather.

She was first arrested in 1908, at a demonstration in Westminster and sentenced to six weeks imprisonment in Holloway. After her release she became a WSPU in the Midlands, building up the Birmingham office. An account shows that in 1908, Gladice held market place meetings in Wolverhampton on Saturday, Monday, Thursday and Friday with a meeting at Wednesfield on the Tuesday and Tettenhall the next day, as well as an open-air meeting on Saturday. Wolverhampton Wanderers football club won the FA club that year and suffragette kites and pamphlets using the team colours were distributed at train stations and at the game. In Worcester, Gladice organised early morning pavement chalking parties. Also in 1908, she spoke in front of a crowd of 250,000 at Hyde Park.  In 1909, Gladice was encouraging women to buy hats and ties in the new suffragette colours, recommending a local milliner and advising that a suffragette had branded her wedding in the colours, including her bouquet and cake.

Her activism tailed off after 1911, possibly she disapproved of increasingly violent demonstrations.

Emily Blathwayt’s diary describes Gladice as "a very nice girl... she seems interested in all subjects and enjoyed everything here... one of the nicer Suffragettes." She planted a Picea Pungens Kosteriana on 4th November 1910.

Later Life

Gladice married a Mr Rickford in 1913, had three sons and lived in Sussex.  She is listed as a recipient of an MBE in 1924 as Gladice Keevil Rickford and seems to have been resident in Bombay at this point. She died in 1959.

Quote

'"Why," she said, with a smile, "the stupidest woman knows more about children and their training than the wisest of men."'  Gladice at Woodhouse Moor 1908.