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Rachel Barrett

Early Life

Rachel Barrett was born on 12 November 1874 in Camarthen, Wales. Her father, a surveyor, died when Rachel was four and she grew up in Llandello with her mother Anne Jones, a Welsh speaker, and two siblings. She studied at University College Wales, Aberystwyth, becoming a science teacher in Llangefni.


After attending a rally in Cardiff in 1906, Rachel joined the WSPU. She organised Adela Pankhurst’s 1907 visit to Wales, speaking on the same platform, where they were flour bombed. Rachel left teaching and moving to London to study at the LSE. She campaigned with other suggragettes who had trees in the plantation, such as Gladice Weevil, Nellie Crocker and Aeta Lamb. She left her studies to take up a permanent organiser role for the WSPU. She worked on a number of by-election campaigns before her heath broke down, returning to volunteer for work with Annie Kenney in Bristol before accepting a paid position for the WSPU in Newport. In 1910 she met Lloyd George to lobby for the Conciliation Bill. However after the 1912 raid on the WSPU’s Clement’s Inn headquarters and Christabel Pankhurst’s exile in Paris, Rachel moved back to London and subsequently became editor of the Suffragette magazine. After it was raided in 1913, she was sentenced to nine months imprisonment. She was released from Canterbury prison under the Cat and Mouse Act after hunger striking when she moved into ‘Mouse Castle’ the Brackenburys London home and, after subsequent arrests at IAR Wylie’s ‘Mouse Hole’. After further hunger strikes, she fled to Scotland, where the offices of the Suffragette were eventually relocated, using the pseudonym Miss Ashworth.

Later Life

Rachel continued to work for full women’s suffrage after World War I and later raised funds for a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst. In 1929, she became secretary of the Equal Political rights Campaign Committee. In the 1930s, she moved to Lamb Cottage, Sible Hedingham, Essex, where she lived with her partner, Australian author, IAR Wylie. The two women had spent 1919 driving across America, living for a while in California. Rachel did on 26 August 1953 at a Sussex nursing home.


‘I could always hear the click of Scotland Yard listening in.’ Rachel Barratt on her phone calls with Christabel Pankhurst.