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Alice Schofield

John Simkin

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Alice Schofield was born in Cleveland in 1881. The family was very poor and she was sent to Manchester to be brought up by an uncle and aunt. She gained a teacher-training certificate from Stockwell Training College and taught mathematics at a school in Crumpsall. A fellow member of staff was Teresa Billington and the two women both became active in politics.

Billington-Greig refused to teach religious instruction and this led to the Manchester Education Committee threatening to sack her. Emmeline Pankhurst, a member of the Manchester Education Committee, was impressed by Teresa's spirit and arranged for her to be transferred to a Jewish school where she would not have to teach religion.

Schofield and Teresa Billington both became members of the Independent Labour Party in Manchester. During this period the women became friendly with Eva Gore-Booth and Esther Roper. All four women became strong supporters of women's suffrage.

In 1904 Schofield joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). Alice, like other suffrages at the time, questioned the way that Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst were running the WSPU. She objected to the way they made decisions without consulting members. In 1907 she left the WSPU with Charlotte Despard and Teresa Billington to form the Women's Freedom League.


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