Papers of Victoria Lidiard

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of memorabilia of suffrage activities including press cuttings, objects and hunger-strike medal; publications and manuscript material on the ordination of women and animal protection; correspondence; correspondence from Hove Borough Council re commemorative plaque and photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

See the biography for Lidiard; Victoria Simmonds (1889-1992); suffragette

Victoria Lidiard (1889-1992) was born Victoria Simmons in Bristol in Dec 1889, one of 12 siblings. She became a vegetarian at the age of ten, and remained interested in animal rights for all of her life. She left school when she was fourteen, later taking evening classes in shorthand and bookkeeping. She, her sisters and her mother became member of the Women's Social & Political Union in Bristol in 1907 and rapidly took part in militant activity such as disrupting political meetings and selling 'Votes for Women' in the streets. In Mar 1912, she took part in a window-smashing raid on Oxford Street and broke a window in the War Office. She was arrested, along with 200 other suffragettes, and sentenced to two months hard labour in Holloway Prison. During the First World War she ran a guesthouse in Kensington for professional women and worked at Battersea Power Station making anti-aircraft shells at weekends. In 1918 she married Major Alexander Lidiard MC of the First Manchester Rifles and a member of the Men's Political Union for Women's Enfranchisement. After the war the couple both trained as opticians and would work together as consultants at the London Refraction Hospital at Elephant and Castle where, in 1927, she became the first female refractionist. They subsequently took practices in Maidenhead and High Wycombe. She was a member of the National Council of Women for most of her working life and became involved with the Movement for the Ordination of Women during the last ten years of her life. She published a book, 'Christianity, Faith, Love and Healing' at the age of 99 and canvassed MPs on improvement in the conditions in the transport of live animals. She died in Oct 1992, aged 102.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is partially available for research. The catalogued portion of the collection is available for research, uncatalogued material remains unavailable. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

The papers were donated to the Library in four tranches in 1987, 1996 1998/20 and 2003. The 1987 accession was donated by Victoria Lidiard when she was 98 years old. Subsequent accessions were donated to The Fawcett Library by Mrs Marjorie Seelig.

Other Finding Aids

Fawcett Library Catalogue (partial)

Related Material

The Women's Library holds the records of a number of militant, Women's Social & Political Union members, including Emily Wilding Davison (7EWD) and Louisa Garrett Anderson (7LGA). The records of the Women's Social & Political Union are held at The Museum of London. The Women's Library Printed Collections also holds a number of publications by the Women's Social & Political Union.