Epsom Division Town Challenge
To celebrate the unveiling of the Emily Davison statue in Epsom Market Place, Girlguiding Epsom launched the Town Challenge!
For Unit Leaders
The leaders information pack includes everything you need to know to run the trail with your unit:
Questions & Answers plus some clues to help you along the way and a copy of the information below which we are sure you’ll find interesting.
On 4th June 1913, suffragette Emily Wilding Davison ran onto the racetrack during the Epsom Derby and was struck by King George V’s horse. She died four days later at the Cottage Hospital in Epsom. We will never know why she did what she did, but we do know that Emily deserves to be remembered for more than just her actions on that day. She was a passionate campaigner who played an important part in gaining the vote for women.
The Emily Davison Memorial Project was founded to raise a statue of Emily in Epsom. Artist Christine Charlesworth made the statue and recycled the clay that she used for Emily to make a sculpture of another trailblazing young woman – Greta Thunberg. Christine is a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors, Society of Women Artists and the Surrey Sculpture Society and lives in Godalming.
The statue features lots of details that relate to Emily’s life and achievements.
Photo: Mary Zoeller Epsom Divison Commissioner at the unveiling of the Emily Davison Statue and launch of the Town Challenge
Emily was born on 11th October 1872. In 1895, she got a First Class degree at St Hugh’s College Oxford, but universities and colleges didn’t allow women to graduate. In 1908 she was finally awarded a First Class Honours degree in Modern Languages at the University of London. On marches she would proudly wear her mortarboard and gown and hold the degree certificate she had waited so long for. On the bench, you can see her mortarboard on top of three of her favourite books.
In 1906 Emily joined the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) – you can see her membership badge on her lapel. She went to prison nine times for interrupting men-only meetings, throwing stones at windows and setting fire to pillar boxes. She went on hunger strike seven times and was force-fed 49 times. You can see her hunger strike medal with seven bars on her jacket and her Holloway brooch on her blouse. On Census Day in 1911, Emily hid in a broom cupboard in the Houses of Parliament so she could put it as her address on the census form. You can see the form in Emily’s left hand.
On 14th June 1913, Emily’s body was taken from Epsom to London where she was accompanied by 5,000 suffragettes. She was buried in Morpeth, where her family came from. In 1918, property-owning women over 30 were given the vote and in 1928, women over 21 were included. By 1968 all women over 18 could vote.