HollyDJWriting for those who go before- by Holly D Johnston

Some events in history lend themselves to the written page, the spoken word, the sung story.  Songwriters and Storysingers seek these out and the world of folk music opens wide to make a home for these historic moments wrapped in melody.  Big events are captured and celebrated in crowd roaring, heart warming, tear jerking song.  How often then, do we know about the big, national mover shakers without knowing about the local, cliff face people who made changes right here where we live

‘Hearth and Home’ is about the local women of Ipswich who were brought together by Constance Andrews in 1911 to boycott the national census and make peaceful protest against so many people not having the vote.  On the night of 2nd April 1911 women gathered in an upstairs room of the building in Ipswich now known as Arlingtons.  They sang songs, told stories and rallied each other whilst driving home their point: ‘We do not count neither shall we be counted’; ‘There are no persons here only women’.  

The fight was not only fought by women.  Fearing that the protest would be disbanded, the husbands, sons and supportive men stood guard so that these women could complete their night of boycott.  Subsequently both men and women refused to be counted by a system that they were not fully a part of. 

In London women famously marched around Trafalgar Square, hid in non-residential buildings and even in a cupboard in the Houses of Parliament. Big cities have their big names; we in Ipswich have our passionate, strong and fearless Great-Grandparents who refused to be counted so that we in turn could be.  Our right to vote is built on the back of those who had no such right and fought ceaselessly to get it.  They ‘held our place in the line’, ‘raised their voices’ and changed everything.  And so this is a song for the women (and men) who went before, with thanks and a promise that we will continue to be counted.

 

For more information on local remembrance and events about  Women’s votes visit: https://womensvoiceswomensvotes.wordpress.com/


Hearth and Home/ Census 1911.

The moon rises high, the beds are all bare.  Gone are the women whose heads would lay there.

Out walking the streets of the square; Anywhere but the Hearth and home, on your census form.

A small place in Suffolk, in Ipswich port town, lived Constance Andrews. A Warrior renowned.

And she gathered them all to be found; Anywhere but the Hearth and home, on your census form.

They held our place in the line.  They fought the battles that echo through time.

Now every cross that we sign, we sign in their name.

Hold up the banner and sing.  They raised their voices to change everything.

Together we stand and together we cry; Count is in, count us in.

No persons here only women. Can you number the value of free living?

We strike out our names for the right just the same as you.

The old records office; a first storey room. Valiant in courage these women platoon.

With their husbands stood guard at the door, while they fight for the hearth and home...

With a census form!

 

They held our place in the line.  They fought the battles that echo through time.

Now every cross that we sign, we sign in their name.

Hold up the banner and sing.  They raised their voices to change everything.

Together we stand and together we cry; Count is in, count us in.

The moon rises high, the beds are all bare.

Gone are the women whose heads once laid there.

 

Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/hollydjohnstonmusic/hearth-and-home-census-boycott-1911

For more story songs from Holly D Johnston visit: www.hollydjohnston.co.uk

Suffolk Folk

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