Charlotte Despard

Standard Name: Despard, Charlotte
Birth Name: Margaret Charlotte French
Married Name: Margaret Charlotte Despard
Indexed Name: C. Despard
Indexed Name: Mrs M. C. Despard
Nickname: Madame Desperate
CD , who wrote and published during almost sixty years of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, began with romantic novels, then allowed her already existent interest in political issues to percolate into her fiction. From the time of the suffrage struggle she became an editor, a prolific journalist, and a pamphleteer. Some of her poetry reached print when she was in her nineties. Despite her great importance to the suffrage struggle and to Irish and other left-wing politics of her several generations, her diaries and letters remain unpublished.
Black-and-white photo of Charlotte Despard speaking at an anti-fascist rally in at Trafalgar Square in London, c 1930s. She is kneeling            forward with her left arm and her waist and her right arm hooked forward in a fist.
"Charlotte Despard" by James Jarche, 1930-01-01. Retrieved from This image is licensed under the GETTY IMAGES CONTENT LICENCE AGREEMENT.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Family and Intimate relationships Mrs Alexander
Her father, Robert French , was a solicitor from a Roscommon family. He was fond of hunting and sports in general.
Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford, 1990.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Black, Helen C. Notable Women Authors of the Day. D. Bryce, 1893.
The French family which produced writer and suffragist Charlotte Despard was said to...
Family and Intimate relationships Katharine Bruce Glasier
KBG 's husband, John Bruce Glasier , fell ill in 1915 with cancer of the bowel. The combined physical and psychological demands of travelling, writing, and speaking for the cause finally took their toll under...
Friends, Associates Naomi Jacob
NJ met Charlotte Despard during the days of the suffrage struggle, and later as an actress on tour visited her at Roebuck House in Clonskeagh, not long after Ireland became independent. The cabman driving...
Friends, Associates Constance Lytton
Mary Neal , a leader in the folk-dance revival and joint founder with Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence of the Esperance Club for working girls, invited CL to holiday with herself and some of the girls in autumn...
Friends, Associates Mary Gawthorpe
During her time with the WSPU, MG worked with Christabel Pankhurst (who was twenty-four when Gawthorpe first met her, before she had yet met Isabella Ford ), whom, like Ethel Snowden , she knew from...
Friends, Associates Maud Gonne
In her later years MG confirmed her friendships with a number of politically-involved women such as Charlotte Despard (with whom she shared a house for more than a decade), Constance Markiewicz , and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington
Occupation Inez Bensusan
Organisers chose to present two feminist plays by men, Woman on Her Own by Eugène Brieux , translated by Charlotte Shaw (Bernard Shaw 's wife), and A Gauntlet by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson .
Hirshfield, Claire. “The Woman’s Theatre in England: 1913-1918”. Theatre History Studies, pp. 123 - 37.
politics Cicely Hamilton
CH was an active member of several suffrage organizations, always aligning herself with the non-militant suffragists. She first belonged to the Women's Social and Political Union , but in 1907 she left to join the...
politics Naomi Jacob
NJ began her political life as a Tory who thought Socialism deeply shocking, like all or most of the older generation of her very mixed family. She went out canvassing at elections, urging people to...
politics Constance, Countess Markievicz
It was among her own boys' group that CCM first began to go by the title of Madame rather than Countess. Anne Haverty explains: In eschewing the Mrs of English usage, certain women showed...
politics Mona Caird
MC stepped into the public eye in the 1880s as a radical member of the women's movement, a supporter of all kinds of linked causes. An article in the Review of Reviews in 1893 equated...
politics Alice Meynell
At eighteen she had realised the inequality that plagued women. She then wrote in her diary: Of all the crying evils in this depraved earth . . . the greatest . . . is the...
politics Edith Craig
EC and Christopher St John worked with Charlotte Despard 's new Women's Freedom League .
Cockin, Katharine. Edith Craig (1869-1947): Dramatic Lives. Cassell, 1998.
politics Eunice Guthrie Murray
Her interest in suffrage succeeded to an interest in the temperance movement. She became an active suffrage lecturer, and (with her mother and one of her sisters) joined the Women's Freedom League (founded by Charlotte Despard
politics Isabella Ormston Ford
Several members of the Women's International League were committed suffragists, including Helena Swanwick , Maude Royden , Margaret Ashton , Kate Courtney , and Charlotte Despard . Others were IOF 's old friends from the...


31 May 1898
George Bedborough , secretary of the Legitimation League which sought to change the law to improve the position of illegitimate children, was arrested, largely in an attempt to damage the League through him.
23 October 1906
During a demonstration at the opening of Parliament , eleven Women's Social and Political Union supporters were for the first time arrested and imprisoned: for two months in Holloway .
27 June 1907
The Women's Franchise began weekly publication in London; it featured contributions from major societies within the suffrage movement and from individuals.
October 1907
Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst and Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , wanting to maintain control over the Women's Social and Political Union agenda, removed by fiat dissident members of the executive and cancelled the forthcoming annual conference.
November 1907
16 September 1909
The Women's Freedom League Temporary Newsheet began weekly publication in London.
28 October 1909
Charlotte Despard edited the first issue of The Vote: Organ of the Women's Freedom League, a weekly magazine from London covering a range of feminist issues, including suffrage.
27 July 1911
The Women's Franchise, which featured contributions from major societies within the suffrage movement and from individuals, ceased publication in London.
February 1912
Helen Houston produced the first issue of Business Girl, a monthly publication from the Institution of Women Shorthand Typists in London.
25 May 1912
The Irish Citizen, a suffrage newspaper jointly edited by Francis Sheehy Skeffington and James Cousins , began weekly publication in London.
15-21 June 1913
The Congress of the International Women's Suffrage Alliance was held at Budapest in Hungary.
Christmas 1914
German and Allied forces at the front lines began an informal cease-fire, which lasted up to five days, in honour of the season.
July 1920
The Irish Citizen ended publication after a British soldier wrecked the press.
6 July 1928
Four days after the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act received the royal assent, a celebratory breakfast was held at the Hotel Cecil in London.
10 November 1933
The Vote, a weekly magazine covering a range of feminist issues including suffrage, ended publication.