Tributes to film’s portrayal of Emily

Emily Davison's funeral procession in Morpeth.
Emily Davison's funeral procession in Morpeth.

A new critically-acclaimed film has thrown the spotlight back on an early 20th-century heroine with ties to Morpeth.

Suffragette, starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep and telling the story of the women’s suffrage movement, also features Natalie Press as Emily Davison.

Emily Wilding Davison was born in 1872 in London, but her relatives hailed from Northumberland, particularly Morpeth, and after her father Charles’ death, the family returned to Longhorsley.

After her death, in 1913, when she fell under the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby, Emily was brought back to Morpeth and is buried in St Mary’s Churchyard.

Maureen Howes, the family genealogist, has expressed her pleasure at watching a film ‘that does Emily and her suffrage companions a great service’.

“The film’s producers and the cast have allowed us to see the Suffragettes in a way that treats them with dignity and empathy and neither did they go over the top relating to portraying the males involved in the story,” she said.

“It was nicely balanced and at times the imagery literally gave me goose bumps and sent shivers up my spine.”

One of Emily’s descendants, Eli Whitaker, added: “I saw the film last night and found it quite emotional. The Suffragettes did suffer so much for their cause. It made me very proud to be Emily’s great great niece.

“It was also interesting seeing this from the perspective of Maud Miller, the laundress, rather than just the middle-class perspective that is only ever shown. The Suffragettes included women from all walks of life. The film is well worth seeing and seems very true to the real story.”