Flora’s role in vote fight

Dis­play throws light on Dal­ton medic

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - DISTRICT NEWS - Sharon Lip­trott

The lit­tle known story of one of Dum­friesshire’s most promi­nent suf­fragettes, Dr Flora Mur­ray, is be­ing told in a new ex­hi­bi­tion.

Women Win­ning the Vote at Gretna, cel­e­brat­ing the cen­te­nary of women’s suf­frage, opened at the Devil’s Por­ridge Mu­seum in Eas­triggs this week.

Richard Brodie, of Eas­triggs and Dornock Her­itage Group, said: “Dr Mur­ray, from Dal­ton, was a pas­sion­ate sup­porter of Em­me­line Pankhurst.

“Flora treated women in­jured in demon­stra­tions and op­posed the gov­ern­ment pol­icy of force-feed­ing. She also worked tire­lessly dur­ing the war set­ting up hos­pi­tals in Paris and Lon­don, treat­ing thou­sands of pa­tients.”

Pupils from Eas­triggs Pri­mary have made plac­ards for the ex­hi­bi­tion which turns the clock back 100 years.

Mr Brodie, helped by the mu­seum’s col­lec­tion man­ager Sarah Harper and a team of vol­un­teers, have spent months un­earthing Dr Mur­ray’s his­tory.

Flora was born in 1869 at Mur­rayth­waite to wealthy landowner John Mur­ray and his wife Grace. She be­came promi­nently in­volved in the suf­frage move­ment while work­ing in Lon­don. Flora spoke at pub­lic meet­ings, joined the 1911 cen­sus protest and treated suf­fragettes in­jured in demon­stra­tions.

She also cam­paigned against the force-feed­ing of hunger-strik­ers.

The out­break of war in 1914 gave the suf­fragettes amnesty. Flora threw her­self into the war ef­fort, team­ing up with life­long friend Dr Louisa Gar­rett to pro­vide med­i­cal ser­vices for troops.

Both re­ceived the CBE for their out­stand­ing ser­vice. Af­ter the war Flora, above, con­tin­ued to cam­paign for full equal­ity but died pre­ma­turely from can­cer be­fore this was fi­nally achieved in 1928.

Her life is re­mem­bered with a me­mo­rial plaque in Dal­ton Church.

The Devil’s Por­ridge Mu­seum is open Mon­days to Satur­days, 10am to 5pm, and Sun­days from 10am to 4pm.

Visit Par­ents and pupils from Lochside Pri­mary with Sarah Harper and Richard Brodie

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