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Maud Joachim

Tree planted by Maud Joachim

Early Life

Maud was born in 1869. Her father Heinrich was a wool merchant and an uncle was an eminent violinist, who studied with Mendelssohn.

Maud studied Moral Science at Girton College, Cambridge between 1890 and 1893. It seems highly likely that she was the Maud Joachim who philosopher Bertrand Russell, in a letter of 12 October 1893, refers to. Russell - also studying Moral Science - described how Maud's chaperone would  sleep through their lectures. Russell met Maud again in June of 1894, describing that she was 'very pleasant' but had been ploughed in her Tripos. 


Maud joined the WSPU in 1907 and was first arrested in February 1908 at a demonstration at the House of Commons. She was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment. In June that year, she was sentenced to three months imprisonment - the longest sentence given to a suffragette at that time - in Holloway, noting that the authorities provided a vegetarian diet as many suffragettes, like her, were vegetarian. She also reported, in Votes for Women, that she was allowed a bath once a week, two books a week from the library and that her cell was clean but that lights were turned out at 8pm. The bed, she reported, was lumpy and that she could only see out of the window by standing on her stool. Prisoners were required to scrub their cell floor each morning after breakfast. after that they went to chapel. After four weeks in solitary confinement, prisoners worked together, usually sewing, but talking was forbidden. 

Maud's detailed account no doubt helped other women prepare for prison life. It also lead to an improvement in conditions for suffragettes who were no longer strip searched, were able to associate more freely and allowed more books. A female doctor was appointed at Holloway due to the rise in women prisoners. This doctor, Mary Gordon, donated money to the WSPU.  

In 1909, Maud was working in Aberdeen and, along with Adela Pankhurst, was arrested in Dundee for interrupting a meeting at Kinnaird Hall held by Winston Churchill, the local MP. Adela hid with a small band of supporters in the attics, throwing items into the hall, whilst Maud galvanised a friendly crowd to rush at the building from the outside. During her ten day imprisonment, Maud became the first women to go on hunger strike in Scotland. 

In 1912, Maud was back in London and arrested for her involvement in the window smashing campaign. She was initially in Holloway but was transferred to Maidstone Prison as the Holloway authorities marked her as a person of some influence who was fomenting trouble. Maud was active in a number of WSPU campaigns during by-elections when she rode on horseback, side-saddle, to promote activities. 

However, after violence escalated to arson in 1913, Maud ended her WSPU activities and supported Sylvia Pankhurst in her establishment of the socialist East London Federation of Suffragettes (ELF).

Maud planted a Thujopsis Dolabrata on 17 June 1910.

Later Life

During World War I, Maud ran an ELF unemployment bureau and also managed an ELF toy factory. After the war she worked with Sylvia on her anti-fascist Ethiopian campaign. Sylvia said Maud was 'self-effacing'. Maud lived at Mouse Cottage, Steyning, until her death in 1947. She left legacies to Sylvia and fellow suffragette (who also planted a tree in the Blathwayt plantation) Katherine Douglas-Smith as well as Girton College.  


"What one finds on joining the WSPU is, that one is brought into contact with a great number of people whose ideals are the same as one's own, and that the isolation and the reproach are things of the past." Maud Joachim interview in Votes for Women, 1908.