This Disability Awareness Month we remember Rosa May Billinghurst. Known as “the crippled suffragette”, Rosa lived in Blackheath and founded the Greenwich Women’s Social and Political Union. She used an adapted tricycle to get around — and as a battering ram on demonstrations.
In 1910, she was arrested on “Black Friday” —an attack by police and male bystanders on 300 suffragettes, after which two women died. Police overturned her wheelchair, let down its tyres and left her abandoned in an alley.
She was arrested and imprisoned several more times after this, including being sentenced to hard labour and going on hunger strike. She became so ill after being force fed that she was finally released. She stopped her campaign in 1918 when some women were finally allowed to vote.
Article from the Greenwich Park Team