Georgina Agnes Brackenbury's Diary by Georgina Cohen
This story is inspired by Georgina Brackenbury who planted a Cupressus Macrocarpa Lutea (Cypress) on 22 July 1910
22nd February 1908
Today I went to a demonstration outside the House of Commons. When everyone had gathered we started the protest. I pushed and shoved my way through police officers and threw any rocks I could find at them. I shouted and chanted with my fellow suffragettes. Suddenly, a hand grabbed at the collar of my boring brown dress and pulled me backwards. I kicked and screamed while my friends tried to pry the police officer off me, to be met with a slap of the hand. Then I was dragged away.
24th February 1908
Police officers showed up at my house today saying that they were taking me to a trial for my actions outside the House of Commons. I spat at their feet but they did not care. I was walked to the trial and was faced with a magistrate called “Mr Smith”. He rambled on about how my actions will not be forgiven and all of that rubbish. Then came the important part. It was for him to tell me what my punishment was going to be. He took a deep breath and said, “Georgina Agnes Brackenbury, I sentence you to six weeks in Holloway Prison.” I gasped, shocked that just a bit of protesting had landed me in Holloway for six weeks! Then I was taken to Holloway Prison.
20th March 1908
I am now into my fourth week in prison and I have been pondering what to do after I get out of this hellhole. They feed us bread and cheese just once a day. It’s horrible how they treat us. They think we’ll learn our lesson if we know that we’ll get sent back here if we do it again. Phah. We don’t care, it just makes us even more angry. I’m going to keep protesting and standing up for what is right. To have an even bigger impact, I think I’ll go to meetings for suffragettes and if I think they are worth it I’ll speak in them and make a bigger difference.
6th May 1908
Today I went to a party with my sisters. It started off normally. I got ready, put on a gown and headed out. I was enjoying the party. But then I spotted a familiar face. Mr Smith! The magistrate who put me in prison. This wasn’t going to be pleasant, but I couldn’t control myself.
I stormed over and said, “Seriously! Six weeks in Holloway Prison just because I threw a couple of rocks?”
“I was only doing what I was told!” He replied.
I looked at him. “Ugh, typical! Men always doing what they are told, because if they don’t they lose their jobs and then their money. You’re lucky you even get to have a well-paid job.” I turned on my heel and left.
22nd July 1910
Today I went down to Somerset to plant my tree. It’s a symbol of my hard work for the suffragette movement. The trees have a hierarchy which shows if you have been arrested or if you have worked for the cause. I planted a Cupressus Macrocarpa Lutea tree. I also hammered a lead plaque into the ground. It had my name on it. I will be remembered in the future for generations to look at and admire! I am proud of myself and I shall keep fighting for women to be able to vote.
14th December 1918
It has been a while since I have written in this diary but that’s because of all the celebrating I have done. Women over the age of thirty are allowed to vote. We did it. As soon as I got back from voting, I made a few sketches of our leader, Emmeline Pankhurst. In time, I will paint her in oils, standing there in all her might, waving the banner of votes for women. It will be put in a gallery somewhere for all to see!
9th September 1927
It has been a while since I have written in this diary but I was inspired to find it, after all these years, because I am finally painting a portrait of our leader, Mrs Pankhurst. I want it to be perfect. She is standing there in all her might, looking kindly, but also determined. I am nearly finished with it and when I am done I want everyone to be able to see it in a gallery somewhere.
20th June 1928
A few days ago on the fourteenth of June, Emmeline died. And today I went to her funeral. Her sisters were there, Sylvia and Christabel. Women of all ages were there sobbing, for our leader had passed away. I was asked to be a pall bearer at the funeral which I graciously accepted. I shed many tears. We hold her memory in our hearts and she will never be forgotten.
30th October 1949
I fear that I may die soon. I am in a small hospital in St Mary Abbot and have been told that I only have a few days left. This came as a shock to me but I do not fear death. A Deathbed is the beginning of something bigger. My legacy shall carry on through each and every generation. My work will be remembered throughout all of time. At my funeral I wish for people to rejoice so I can have a happy death. My family will be given most of my possessions and my friends, such as Annie Kenney, will take the rest. I will cry with happiness before the darkness comes to take me because I know I have lived my life to the fullest.
Having been born in Sussex and brought up in Norfolk, Georgina is now in Year 9 at Langley School. She has played for the County Cricket team since the age of nine. Her favourite subjects are English, Biology and Chemistry. When writing her story, Georgina felt inspired by the bravery of all the suffragettes and how they have enabled women to gain the right to vote.