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Edith Downing

Edith Downing

Edith Downing was born in Cardiff in 1857. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art (1892-93) and exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time in 1892. In 1898 she had two sculptures accepted. Over the next few years she became a regular exhibitor at the academy.

Downing joined the Central Society for Women's Suffrage in 1903 and its successor, London Society for Women's Suffrage in 1906. Downing became frustrated by the lack of success of these organisations and in 1908 she joined the Women Social & Political Union. The following year she made small portraits of Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney, that were sold for WSPU funds.

Downing joined forces with Marion Wallace-Dunlop to organise a series of spectacular WSPU processions. The most impressive of these was the Woman's Coronation Procession on 17th June 1911. Flora Drummond led off on horseback with Charlotte Marsh as colour-bearer on foot behind her. She was followed by Marjorie Annan Bryce in armour as Joan of Arc.

The art historian, Lisa Tickner, described the event in her book The Spectacle of Women (1987): "The whole procession gathered itself up and swung along Northumberland Avenue to the strains of Ethel Smyth's March of the Women... The mobilisation of 700 prisoners (or their proxies) dressed in white, with pennons fluttering from their glittering lances, was, as the Daily Mail observed, "a stroke of genius". As The Daily News reported: "Those who dominate the movement have a sense of the dramatic. They know that whereas the sight of one woman struggling with policemen is either comic or miserably pathetic, the imprisonment of dozens is a splendid advertisement."

During the 1910 General Election the NUWSS organised the signing petitions in 290 constituencies. They managed to obtain 280,000 signatures and this was presented to the House of Commons in March 1910. With the support of 36 MPs a new suffrage bill was discussed in Parliament. The WSPU suspended all militant activities and on 23rd July they joined forces with the NUWSS to hold a grand rally in London. When the House of Commons refused to pass the new suffrage bill, the WSPU broke its truce on what became known as Black Friday on 18th November, 1910, when its members clashed with the police in Parliament Square. Edith Downing was one of the women arrested during this demonstration but was released without charge. On 23rd November she was arrested again and sentenced to seven days' imprisonment for throwing a stone through a window of Somerset House.

Christabel Pankhurst decided that the WSPU needed to intensify its window-breaking campaign. On 1st March, 1912, a group of suffragettes volunteered to take action in the West End of London. The Daily Graphic reported the following day: "The West End of London last night was the scene of an unexampled outrage on the part of militant suffragists.... Bands of women paraded Regent Street, Piccadilly, the Strand, Oxford Street and Bond Street, smashing windows with stones and hammers." Edith Downing was arrested for taking part in this demonstration. While in Holloway Prison she took part in the mass hunger strike and was forcibly fed before being released.

Edith Downing, who lived with Ellen Sparks for the last twenty-five years of her life, died in 1931.

Edith Downing - History

Cerddoriaeth (Music) by Edith Downing (1857-1931). c. 1902. Bronze. 73 cm. Amgueddfa Cymru Caerdydd (National Museum of Wales, Cardiff). Accession Number: NMW A 2646. Given” by the artist in 1930. The 1902 Academy Architecture , gives the title of this work as “Music sent up to God” (109). [Click on these images and those below to enlarge them.]

According to the museum's chat label, “This bust shows a singing woman. Edith Downing was a Cardiff-born sculptor and a suffragette. She studied at the South Kensington schools and at the Slade School of Art. She was imprisioned on several occasions and was force-fed whilst on hunger strike at Holloway prison.”


All Photographs by the National Museum of Wales (except for the one at upper right” by Robert Freidus). The National Museum, which retains copyright, has generously shared these images with readers of the Victorian Web . formatting by George P. Landow.]


“Edith Downing (1857-1931) .” Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951 . University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011. Web. 17 February 2012.

Edith Elizabeth Downing naît à Cardiff en janvier 1857 . Elle était l'une des quatre enfants du marchand de charbon et agent maritime Edward Downing. Sa sœur Mary devient elle aussi artiste, tandis que sa sœur Caroline Lowder Downing, infirmière, rejoint la Women's Social and Political Union avec elle [ 1 ] , [ 2 ] .

Edith Downing fait ses études secondaires au Cheltenham Ladies' College puis commence sa formation artistique à la South Kensington School of Art, puis à la Slade School of Art, en 1892-1893 [ 3 ] . Elle sculpte des bustes et des figures en bronze et en marbre, et peint des aquarelles et fait des reliefs et des panneaux décoratifs [ 1 ] . Elle expose pour la première fois à la Royal Academy en 1891, et elle continue à y exposer régulièrement jusqu'au début des années 1900 [ 4 ] . Elle expose également au Royal Glasgow Institute, au Salon de Paris, à la Society of Women Artists et elle est membre de la South Wales Art Society de 1896 à 1900 [ 5 ] . Le musée national de Cardiff détient plusieurs de ses œuvres, notamment une figure en bronze intitulée Avarice [ 6 ] . Un retable d'albâtre qu'elle a créé en mémoire de Wilfrid Clive, morte lors d'une séjour en Dominique, est conservé dans l'église St Peter, Wormbridge, Herefordshire [ 7 ] . Downing a également utilisé ses talents artistiques pour soutenir ses activités de suffragette, à la fois en travaillant avec Marion Wallace Dunlop pour organiser une série de processions et en vendant son travail pour collecter des fonds pour le mouvement [ 8 ] . Il s'agit notamment des statuettes intitulées « A Sketch » et « Peter Pan » en 1908, et des statuettes de Christabel Pankhurst et Annie Kenney en 1909 [ 2 ] .

Edith Downing rejoint la Central Society for Women's Suffrage en 1903 puis la London Society for Women's Suffrage en 1906. En 1908, elle rejoint la branche de Chelsea de la Women's Social and Political Union, plus radicale, avec sa sœur Caroline Lowder Downing [ 2 ] . En juin 1910, Edith et Marion Wallace Dunlop ont créé un « Tableau des prisonniers » pour la procession « Prison to Citizenship » de la WSPU, tandis que l'année suivante, elles collaborent à la « Women's Coronation Procession ». Cette procession était dirigée par Flora Drummond à cheval et comprenait Annan Bryce habillée en Jeanne d'Arc et 700 femmes vêtues de blanc pour représenter les prisonniers suffragettes [ 8 ] . En novembre 1911 , Downing participe à plusieurs manifestations, dont une sur Parliament Square, qui a provoqué des affrontements avec la police. Le 23 novembre 1911 , elle brise une fenêtre de Somerset House et est condamnée à une semaine de prison. Elle est de nouveau arrêtée le 1 er mars 1912 pour avoir jeté une pierre dans la fenêtre d'un marchand d'art à Regent Street alors qu'elle participait à la campagne de bris de vitres du WSPU, dans le West End de Londres [ 9 ] . Elle est incarcérée à la prison de Holloway où elle mène une grève de la faim et est alimentée de force. Downing est l'une des 68 femmes qui ont brodé leurs signatures ou leurs initiales sur le mouchoir des suffragettes [ 10 ] . Elle est libérée fin juin, avant le terme de sa peine [ 9 ] .

Downing reçoit la Hunger Strike Medal « pour la vaillance », décernée par la WSPU. Elle meurt en octobre 1931 dans le Surrey [ 3 ] .

Up The Crick Without A Piddle

Back at the café, madame Fanny forces Mimi and Yvette to scrub the floor and make them work very hard. When they refuse to work, she only tells them that she is in charge until René returns and that if they do not do as they are told, she will put them back in the street - "where [they] belong".

At the British ministry of defence, there is a realisation that the plane has picked up "the wrong two monks". René and Edith are brought in and a man is being sent for to interpret between them and the ministry personnel. However, before he arrives, the two officers with them try to talk to them, but one of them cannot speak French and the other one speaks the same mangled kind of French that Crabtree does. Thus, René and Edith do not understand much of what they are saying and therefore do not answer them. This means that the communication between them does not work at all, until the interpretor arrives. When he does, it becomes somewhat of a surprise, both to him and to René and Edith. He turns out to be Hans Geering, whom they have not seen since their escape from the prison camp (in the episode Prisoners of War) and heard since his message on the radio (in the episode Camp Dance). When they are alone, Hans tells René and Edith, that he has now become a "neutralised Englishman" after three months of brainwash and is now a British citizen. He also says he knows that René is "Nighthawk", the hero of the resistance. He also has to interrogate them a little, just for show. When the two officers rejoin them, Hans tells them that there was a "cockup" in France and that the British airmen were not there, when they were to be picked up. René and Edith tried to tell them this, but were dragged into the plane and flown off to England. However, the officers are vary pleased to hear that René is "Nighthawk". As they hear that Winston Churchill wants to see them right away, they are dressed in civilian gentleman's clothes, which were standing by for Fairfax and Carstairs. When Hans tells the two of them that Churchill wants to see them and probably wants to give them a medal, they are not very happy about it, since medals are the last thing they need.

At the café, colonel Von Strohm, lieutenant Gruber and captain Bertorelli are enquiring about René, while Fanny is "warming up her tonsils" for the evening, when she is going to sing. Before the Germans leave, with Yvette having assured them that Rene has just gone away for a few days, they order a table at the café for that same evening. When they have left, officer Crabtree arrives, telling Mimi and Yvette that Michelle has had a message from England, that René and Edith are over there and that they do not know where the airmen are. Michelle is going to speak to London on the radio in Fanny's bedroom and two o'clock. Meanwhile, Crabtree is going to look for the airmen on his bicycle.

It turns out, that the airmen have ended up in a pig sty, where they, still dressed as monks, try to eat the pigs' food.

Churchill receives René and Edith at 10 Downing Street. Firstly, he does not think they look very French, because of the very British clothes they are wearing. Secondly, he does not see that Edith is a woman and at first thinks they are brothers. When Hans explains they are married, he becomes even more confused and is not totally convinced when Hans tells him Edith is a woman. When Churchill has given them a medal each, Hans takes them to tea on expenses.

In the monastery, Von Smallhausen is pedalling a potter's wheel, while Herr Flick is trying to make a pot on it. However, he succeeds poorly, since he does not know the art of pottery. The next moment, they are joined by a nun, who turns out to be Helga in disguise. She asks if they have found out if any of the monks speaks English, but they have not, since it is a silent order. She has also brought them some sandwiches.

While madame Fanny is sleeping on her bed, Michelle, Crabtree, Yvette and Mimi talk to René and Edith on the radio. They are all wondering what has happened to the British airmen, but neither party knows. When Edith learns that Fanny has passed out on her bed and that monsieur LeClerc is serving all his old pals free drinks, she becomes determined to return that same night. Before that, however, Hans take her and René shopping and also takes them for a cup of tea at Lyon's Corner House, where they are interrupted by an air raid and must go down to a shelter. Edith has decided to return, since Fanny and Ernest are ruining the business, while René has decided to stay in England.

In the evening, the German officers sit down at their ordered table in the café. They inform Yvette, that René has been missing for almost 24 hours and a person missing longer than that will be arrested and interrogated when found, along with his friends and relatives.

In the aircraft bringing Edith (who is wearing a parachute) back, René and Hans have joined her to say goodbye. René does not change his mind about staying in England, but when he and Edith are saying good bye, they are both standing on the trap door through which Edith will be dropped, when it is opened. Thus René unintentionally comes back too, clinging on to her while they are floating down through the air.

Madame Fanny and monsieur LeClerc are preparing a cabaret number in her bedroom, when René and Edith smash through the roof and land in her bed. Thus, when the time is up for René, he and Edith come downstairs, dressed in Fanny's and Ernest's clothes, performing the cabaret number. As René is about to escape through the back passage, general Von Klinkerhoffen comes in and tells him, that he will not be given a medal after all. Berlin has informed him, that blowing up somebody by accident does not count as sufficient collaboration.

3. Downing Street, London Grade I

In June 1908, Edith New and Mary Leigh smashed windows in 10 Downing Street in protest against the way fellow demonstrators had been assaulted in Parliament Square earlier in the month. It was the first time the suffragettes had smashed windows in the name of the cause. “It will be a bomb next time,” Leigh was reported to have said when the women were arrested.

Fake History 1: Controlling Our Future By Controlling Our Past

The term ‘Fake News’ has only recently entered common parlance, but it has a long history. Lies masquerading as news are as old as news itself, with royalty, governments, public figures and the mainstream media purveying it to manipulate public opinion. In an Orwellian twist those very same groups now employ it as a pejorative term against the alternative media and truth writers and bloggers as way of dismissing inconvenient truths and crushing dissent. We should all be aware of the state as keeper of the ‘the truth’. “Fake History” is another powerful weapon that has long been used by those in authority to retain that power by keeping the masses in the dark. As the late George Orwell wrote:

‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past’.

It is the unelected, unaccountable individuals who control central banking, governments and the mainstream media, who control the writing and teaching of the fake history that enables them to enslave us. After almost seventy years Orwell’s observation may appear somewhat clichéd, but it is now more relevant than ever. The highly perceptive author added: ‘The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.’

If we were able to grasp the truth of our past, could we begin to determine our own future? In the first instance the lies and mythology need to be challenged by honest history, hard but necessary truths and historical revision. ‘Revisionism’, according to Joseph Stromberg in an article he wrote about Professor Harry Elmer Barnes, ‘refers to any efforts to revise a faulty exiting historical record or interpretation.’ [1] Professor Barnes, himself one of the greatest revisionists of the 20th century, wrote that revisionism has been most frequently and effectively applied to correcting the historical record relative to wars because ‘truth is always the first war casualty.’ [2] Hold that important statement close. The emotional abuses and distortions in historical writing are greatest in wartime. Consequently, both the need and the material for correcting historical myths are most evident and profuse in connection with wars.

The present authors’ long years of research into the origins and conduct of the First World War of 1914-18 (though it continued until the signing of peace in 1919) demonstrates just how accurate Professor Barnes understanding was. Mainstream historians tell us that Germany was guilty of starting WW1 and committing the most barbarous crimes throughout. Proud, virtuous Britain, on the other hand, was forced to go to war against this German evil to fight ‘for freedom, civilisation and the integrity of small helpless nations.’ It is all a deliberately concocted lie. Patriotic myths and the victors’ wartime lies and propaganda had been scripted into Britain’s “Official History.” In truth, Britain – or to be more precise, immensely rich and powerful men in Britain – were directly responsible for the war that killed over 20 million people. Kaiser Wilhelm II and Germany did not start the war, did not want war and did what they could to avoid it.

But it is not just First World War history that is involved in the grand deception. Our contention that virtually the entire received history of the twentieth century has been faked, and requires urgent and complete revision, will raise no eyebrows in enlightened circles. It will most definitely elicit howls of derision and cries of “impossible” and “conspiracy theory” from the vast majority. Self interest or cognitive dissonance?

These blogs cannot cover the many thousands of examples of historical falsehoods or omissions we found in our historical research – our books do that – but it explains how the men behind the curtain actually created fake history. Their multifaceted approach ranges from the straightforward destruction or concealment of documents and books, to the more subtle methods of employing Court Historians and the ‘peer review’ system.

Who is responsible for fake history?

Before we examine how history is faked we need to understand who fakes it and why. In this regard, the most important influences on our work were books by Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, A History of The World In Our Time and The Anglo-American Establishment.

The astonishing 1,300 page tome Tragedy and Hope, published in 1966, revealed the existence of secret society initially created by Cecil Rhodes in London in 1891. Its aim was to expand the British Empire to all habitable parts of the world. The enlarged empire would be run by wealthy upper class elites and based on English ruling class values. These people felt obliged to rule the entire world because they considered the vast majority of the human race was too ignorant to do so themselves. In the decades following Rhodes death in 1902, the secret society evolved. It became transnational as the singularly British elite merged with the American money-power Quigley’s Anglo-American Establishment.

This would aim to become a world government. The geographical axis moved from London to New York. Later the U.N. was created as one of its instruments towards one world government. Members of the secret society controlled the United States, the White House, the Federal Reserve System and Wall Street. They likewise controlled Britain, Downing Street, the Bank of England and the City, the financial district of London. They ruled from behind the scenes and were not necessarily the major political players known to everyone. They selected major political figures and funded and controlled them. They would not be the great teachers or historians, but they decided who would be elevated to the great chairs of learning. They funded historians who wrote the fake histories. This secret group has been the world’s major historical force since before World War 1 and, according to Professor Quigley, every major event in history since then has been dominated by them. [3]

The secret society was…one of the most important historical facts of the twentieth century. Indeed, the Group is of such significance that evidence of its existence is not hard to find, if one knows where to look. [4]

We looked, followed the clues, trails and names presented by Professor Quigley and were utterly astonished to find that a secret cabal actually existed, with unfettered powers in Britain and the United States. Quigley called them the ‘Group’ we have termed them the Secret Elite, but they are also variably known as the Money Power, the Deep State, the Men behind the Curtain and so forth. The shocking evidence went much deeper than that exposed by Quigley, and proved to us beyond all doubt that the individuals involved in the cabal – in both London and New York – were responsible for starting, and unnecessarily prolonging, the First World War. Through enormous wealth, power and control of Oxford University, they were able to cover their tracks and fabricate a history which blamed Kaiser Wilhelm II and Germany. A century later, that fake history is still presented as truth by ‘eminent’ mainstream historians with links to Oxford.

&hellipLocal woman Edith joined the Women&rsquos Social and Political Union in 1906 and went on to become one of Emmeline Pankhurst&rsquos fearless foot soldiers in the battle for female suffrage. By the end of 1908 she had set a precedent in the Votes for Women campaign. She was the first suffragette to chain herself to railings and the first to break windows as a means of protest&hellip

&hellipOn Friday, February 26, 1909 the Hawick News reported the presence of the campaigning women in Hawick as a &lsquonovelty.&rsquo The newspaper was slightly less patronising in its description of Edith &lsquoa lady of attractive personality, an eloquent speaker, and has the knack of keeping herself on the best of terms with her audiences.&rsquo&hellip

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Laid to rest at last: Edith Thompson, victim of a ➺rborous, misogynistic' death penalty

As she is finally reburied in the same grave as her parents, those attending the reinterment ceremony say the 29-year-old was guilty of nothing more than a scandalous love affair and being a woman with 'ideas above her station'

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History will almost certainly record that when they sent Edith Thompson to the gallows, the case against her was wretchedly weak.

So weak that it could be said her only ‘crimes’ were to fall in love with a man who wasn’t her husband, to express that love in literary flights of fantasy, and, perhaps, to be a woman with ‘ideas above her station’.

It is also possible she was pregnant, which would have made her execution, on 9 January 1923, illegal.

In the eyes of the law, and contemporary popular opinion, Edith Thompson was a murderer, a woman who had incited her much younger lover, Freddy Bywaters, to plunge a knife into her cuckolded husband Percy as he walked home from an evening at the theatre on 3 October 1922.

Her mother Ethel Graydon wrote directly to King George V begging for mercy but Edith, 29, was hanged in Holloway Prison less than a month after a jury found her guilty.

Then Mrs Graydon begged to be allowed to visit her daughter’s grave, or at the very least to be told where in the grounds of Holloway Prison it was - to similarly little avail.

It is said that when Ethel passed away in January 1938, her dying wish was for Edith to be reburied with her in the family grave.

On Thursday that mother’s last wish was granted as the government gave the executed Edith Thompson perhaps the only scrap of justice left available to her.

After the Ministry of Justice allowed an exhumation, Edith’s mortal remains were laid to rest in the grave of her mother and father in the City of London Cemetery – 95 years after William Graydon kissed his daughter on the eve of her execution and promised: “You will be home at last tomorrow night”.

Outside the cemetery church, on a cold, grey afternoon, one of a handful of bouquets came with a handwritten card: “In loving memory, home at last with mum and dad”.

Among the 50 or so arriving to pay their last respects, there was unanimity about the injustice.

“She was innocent,” said Sue Syms, whose husband Graham is a great-nephew of Edith’s brother. “It was a trial of women’s morality.

“She was executed for having a relationship outside marriage, for letters to her lover that were seen as highly immoral and disgracefully against everything people believed in at the time.”

And yet, they tell you, even in the 1950s, three decades after the execution, there was a lingering sense of awkwardness, perhaps even shame, that ensured children were ushered out of the living room before the grown-ups of the family dared discuss the fate of Edith.

She had, it seemed been reluctant to marry shipping clerk Percy Thompson in 1916, after a seven-year courtship that had begun when she was 15. When she told her sister Avis “I can’t go through with it,” her father had insisted: “You must go everybody is at the church waiting for you.”

She was 27 when she began a relationship with 18-year-old Freddy Bywaters.

To compound what would later be seen as the scandal of the nine-year age gap, Edith wrote Freddy page after page of love letters.

Written in a style inspired by her love of literature and literary romance, they went way beyond what was considered “proper” for a suburban wife of the 1920s.

She claimed to Bywaters that she had carried out her own abortion after becoming pregnant by him. She told him of her lack of periods, and of the orgasm she had experienced when they had open-air sex in Wanstead Park.

And, concealed within at least 51,000 words of other outpourings, were what the prosecution portrayed as coded requests for Bywaters to kill her 32-year-old husband.

In one letter she mentioned meeting a woman who had lost three husbands. “I can’t even lose one,” she told her young lover.

She also claimed to Bywaters that she had tried “poisoning” her husband and putting the glass from a smashed light bulb into his mashed potato.

On 3 October 1922, as Mr and Mrs Thompson walked home from Ilford station in east London, Bywaters jumped out from behind some bushes and stabbed Percy to death, as Edith screamed, seemingly hysterically, “no, don’t!”

The public lapped up the reports of the subsequent Old Bailey trial.

After the guilty verdict was delivered on December 11, a petition calling for mercy attracted nearly one million signatures.

But they weren’t seeking a reprieve for her. They were after mercy for him – Bywaters, the man who never denied killing Mr Thompson.

Throughout, Bywaters maintained that he had acted entirely alone. Graham and Sue Syms and their side of the family are convinced this made the public warm to the killer as a gentleman who was “chivalrously protecting his lover”.

The man who delivered the eulogy at Thursday’s service, Professor René Weis, author of Criminal Justice: The True Story of Edith Thompson, wholeheartedly agrees.

“It goes without saying,” he tells you, “That what happened was misogynistic.”

Despite having left school at 16, Edith had a natural flair for literature, and the kind of ability that allowed her to shoulder the responsibility that came with her job as a buyer for a fashionable hat maker. At the time of the murder, by contrast, Bywaters was a 20-year-old steward on a P&O liner.

“She was self-evidently more intelligent than him,” says Prof Weis, “Self-evidently more successful, so they thought, wrongly: this woman must be the driving force in the murder.

“Here was this lower middle class girl from east London,” the professor adds. “Extremely talented, earning a great deal of money - she was smart, she was elegant, a fantastic dancer.

“For her to behave in ways that would have been fine with the ruling classes, to have everything … in the view of the court and in the view of other people, she got ‘above her station’.

“The mood was very hostile to her in a lot of places.”

One such place, according to Prof Weis, was in the Old Bailey courtroom, in the form of 65-year-old trial judge Sir Montague Shearman.

Edith Downing - History

Protestors challenge the segregation of dining facilities in front of the Kresge&rsquos
department store in downtown Newport News, March 1960.
Courtesy of the Daily Press Archives © Daily Press

The Hampton Roads Oral History Project aims to document the impact of the civil rights movement on area residents. This service-learning project was established in the fall of 2012 by CNU history professor Dr. Laura Puaca, in conjunction with her History 341 class, &ldquoThe Long Civil Rights Movement.&rdquo Students enrolled in the class worked in pairs to prepare, conduct, and transcribe an interview with a member of the local community. The project was carried out under the auspices of CNU&rsquos Center for Community Engagement and in collaboration with two community organizations, the Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center and the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center.

This collection contains both the original audio files as well as the interview transcripts, which have been reviewed and edited by the students, HROHP staff, and each interviewee. The transcripts seek to remain faithful to the original content of each interview while assisting readability (eliminating false starts, filler words such as "uh," providing additional clarifying information when necessary, etc.).

These interviews serve as the basis for an on-going and permanent collection that will grow over time.

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Watch the video: The One Who Longs to Make Us Whole Edith Sinclair Downing (January 2022).