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Una Stratford Dugdale

Tree planted by Una Stratford Dugdale

Early Life

Una was born in 1879, the daughter of a naval Commander and his wife, who were supporters of the suffrage movement. A sister, Daisy, was also a suffragette. Una was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College and later studied singing in Hanover and Paris. She was the niece of Viscount Peel, the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Activism

In 1907, Una, then 28, heard Christabel Pankhurst speak and started to tour the country with Emmeline Pankhurst. She carried out suffragette work in Aberdeen and lobbied voters in the 1908 election in Newcastle. In 1909, she was imprisoned for a month after a raid on Parliament. Una also bought a full length portrait of Christabel Pankhurst by Ethel Wright, which she later gave to the National Portrait Gallery.

On 13 January, 1912, Una married Victor Duval at the Savoy Chapel. She scandalised society by refusing to include the word obey in her vows. She was advised that if she did not, the marriage would not be legal. However, at the wedding, she did not repeat obey after the clergyman spoke.  He said that he hoped there would be an amended form of the service created.  The Mirror ran the headline, ‘The Bride Who would Not Promise to Obey.’

Una’s husband set up the Men’s Political Union for Women’s Enfranchisement. Una wrote about her wedding in a pamphlet ‘To love, honour, but not obey.’

Una planted an Araucaria Imbricata on 7 February 1911.

Later Life

After the First World War Una brought up her two daughters. She was a co-founder and treasurer of the Suffragette Fellowship, an organisation to preserve the memory of the militant suffrage struggle. Una died in St Stephen's Hospital, Chelsea, London, on 24 February 1975.

Quote

"-"  Una Dugdale when asked if she promised to obey her husband.

Read Yin F Lim's short story, dedicated to Una Stratford Dugdale.