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Matthew C. Hendley

4 Conservative women and the Primrose League’s struggle for survival, 1914–32 Matthew C. Hendley The Primrose League is usually viewed as a crucial political vehicle for Conservative women during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Though open to both sexes, the League’s true value to the Conservative Party lay in its effective utilisation of female members (who constituted nearly half of its membership) for both canvassing during elections and social functions between elections. Owing to the fact that women lacked the national franchise before 1918, the League

in Rethinking right-wing women
Gender and the Conservative Party, 1880s to the present

Historians and political scientists have deemed the twentieth century 'the Conservative Century', owing to the electoral and cultural dominance of the Conservative Party in Britain. This book traces the relationship among women, gender and the Conservative Party from the 1880s to the present, and thereby seeks to fill that gap. A gender inclusive approach allows for a more nuanced understanding of political machinations, power and the unprecedented popularity of both conservatism and unionism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The suffragette Christabel Pankhurst, was regarded as a charismatic, radical figure, who was the co-leader of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), a notorious suffrage organization campaigning for the parliamentary vote for women in Edwardian Britain. In 1928 Lady Iveagh, Vice-Chairman of the National Union of Conservative Associations (NUCA), claimed that one million women were members of the Conservative Party. The book focuses on how the Primrose League re-made itself for its female members between 1914 and 1932. It shows that the Conservative Party leadership and male candidates were keen to present themselves as the champions of home interests, playing up their family-man credentials against their rowdy electoral culture of Labour. The book also examines inquires how the deliberate choice of middlebrow rhetoric as well as the language of citizenship enabled Conservative women to construct a cross-class language of democracy. It explores British conservatism, highlighting the history of the Tory Party as part of the study of women and their sectional interest in 'the politics of gender'.

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Claud W. Sykes, MI5 and the ‘Primrose League’
Charmian Brinson and Richard Dove

MUP FINAL PROOF – <STAGE>, 09/04/2013, SPi 7 Flying and spying: Claud W. Sykes, MI5 and the ‘Primrose League’ In August 1938, at the height of the political crisis over Hitler’s claim to the Sudeten border lands of Czechoslovakia, the British writer and translator Claud Walter Sykes, holidaying in Cassis-sur-mer, in the South of France, wrote a two-page letter to the German writer Karl Otten, living as a refugee in London. Beginning ‘my dear Otten’, Sykes’s letter struck a friendly, even familiar note. It dealt briefly with two literary projects on which they

in A matter of intelligence
John M. Mackenzie

contemporary patriotic and military excitements. Looked at from the perspective of the schools, the imperial studies movements do not seem to have been such a failure. Moreover, among the educational establishment, the First World War did not herald the intellectual revolution so often attributed to it. The Primrose League did more perhaps than any other society to generate an emotional and uncritical enthusiasm

in Propaganda and Empire
David Thackeray

and championed the respectable working man who could be trusted to enjoy a drink and Thackeray.indd 17 1/10/2013 10:11:10 AM 18 Edwardian politics a flutter in moderation. At the core of Conservative attempts to develop a mass support base in late Victorian Britain was the Primrose League, an organisation which sought to bridge the traditionally class-bound cultures of Conservative life. Founded in 1883, the Primrose League promoted values of domesticity and family life, and afforded women the opportunity to participate in Conservative activism.4 Given that

in Conservatism for the democratic age
MI5 and the surveillance of anti-Nazi refugees, 1933–50

A Matter of Intelligence is a book about the British Security Service MI5. More specifically, it concerns one particular aspect of its work, the surveillance of anti-Nazi German refugees during the 1930s and 1940s. When Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis began a reign of terror against their political opponents: communists, socialists, pacifists and liberals, many of whom were forced to flee Germany. Some of these ‘political’ refugees came to Britain, where MI5 kept them under close surveillance. This study is based on the personal and organisational files that MI5 kept on them during the 1930s and 1940s – or at least those that have been released to the National Archives – making it equally a study of the political refugees themselves. Although this surveillance exercise formed an important part of MI5's work during that period, it is a part which it seems to have disowned or at any rate forgotten: the recent official history of MI5 does not even mention it, nor do its ‘unofficial’ counterparts. This study therefore fills a considerable gap in historical research. It traces the development of MI5 surveillance of German-speaking refugees through the case files of some of its individual targets and of the main refugee organisations; it also considers the refugees’ British supporters and the refugee informants who spied on fellow-refugees, as well as MI5's tussles with the Home Office and other official bodies. Finally, it assesses how successful – or how useful – this hidden surveillance exercise actually was.

David Thackeray

encouraged women to engage more seriously in day-to-day Unionist activism than they had done in the Primrose League. Edwardian Unionists were not merely concerned with appealing to the male voter. The tariff reform movement sought to develop a new culture of Unionist public politics, more amenable to women than the rowdy traditions of the Victorian hustings. All the same, these efforts met with ambiguous results. Whilst female Unionist activism flourished in Edwardian Britain, there are signs that some male Conservative leaders grew uneasy with the increasing encroachment

in Conservatism for the democratic age
Female unionism and conservatism, 1886–1914
Diane Urquhart

inclusive organisation. This was the Primrose League, established as a male-­only association in November 1883, but women were admitted to its ranks in the following month. The reach of this new body thus went beyond the enfranchised and the elite; it was a defender of tradition with a clear attachment to the Anglican Church, monarchy and empire.13 Using a potent mix of imperialism, heraldry and Masonic modelling, Primrose League habitations (the name for male, female and mixed-­sex branches) with male Knights, female Dames and Junior Leagues of ‘Buds’ became the largest

in Rethinking right-wing women
David Thackeray

devoted their attention to the defence of the union. In the immediate years before the First World War, opposition to Irish home rule galvanised and revitalised Unionist activism across Britain. The most detailed information we have on the organisation of the Unionist auxiliary forces in the Edwardian years comes from the West Midlands, in the notebook in the Bodleian Library already mentioned in chapter 2. Table 4.1  Unionist auxiliary organisations, Midland Union, c. 1913 Organisation Junior Imperial League National Conservative League Primrose League Women

in Conservatism for the democratic age
Brad Beaven

societies that we focus upon here are those which professed a desire to engage with the working classes in urban Britain. Their success or otherwise in establishing a presence in Portsmouth, Coventry and Leeds may provide an indication of their capacity to penetrate differing urban English contexts between 1870 and 1939. The Primrose League, established in 1883, was undoubtedly an

in Visions of empire