Need context in suffragette row 4

February 2, 2007

I was somewhat surprised by your article and editorial comment on the suffragette row. The tone is that Christopher Bearman is some kind of "amateur" historian and that his views are crude and merely sensationalist.

It seems to me that all Dr Bearman is trying to do is question the accepted "feminist" stance on a particular period of women's history when the WSPU moved away from chaining themselves to railings and disrupting public meetings (militancy) and moved into a period of arson, destruction and personal attacks (violence).

Bearman, in addition to his PhD in social history, has first-sa class honours degrees in both history and English. He is best known for his research into traditional music, including groundbreaking work on both music collectors and the people who sang and played to them - work that has beenJpraised as being scrupulously fair and honest by a leading US academic.

I was rather hoping that Dr Bearman's article in the BBC History Magazine might spark off a rational debate on a refreshingly new point of view, but I feel that the tone of your article and editorial was akin to a pre-emptive strike that condemnsJan accused man without a fair trial.

Christopher Heppa.
Chelmsford

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