Dorothy Jewson was a remarkable figure: a pacifist, a suffragette, and a politician. Born on 17 August 1884 at Thorpe Hamlet, Dorothy was one of two children of George Jewson, a coal and timber merchant, and his wife, Mary Jane Jarrold. Dorothy studied at Norwich High School for Girls and Girton College, Cambridge, where she was exposed to Socialism and Feminism; two ideologies that were to shape her life.
After graduating, Dorothy became politically engaged in the quest for female suffrage and set up a branch of the Pankhurst’s militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in Norwich. The First World War transformed the militant suffrage movement as the Pankhurst’s suspended activities and devoted their campaign towards women’s duty in the war effort. Despite Dorothy’s commitment to securing the female vote, her pacifist position on war contrasted greatly to the Pankhurst sisters; thus 1914 saw a split in relations. Even without the support of the WSPU, Dorothy continued to campaign for a feminist future throughout the First World War.
In 1914, Dorothy formed a toy making workshop to relieve female unemployment through non-military roles. She encouraged female workers to value their job as an art-form, providing the opportunity for women to develop a specialist skill and to sell their toys in Norwich Market Place. In 1916, she moved to London to support the women’s trade union movement whereby she encouraged women to be active in their quest for better working conditions and adequate pay.
Under Dorothy Jewson‘s position in Norwich city council in the late 1920s, the unemployed were involved in rebuilding
infrastructure across the city. Her legacy can be seen at Waterloo and Eaton P arks, which were built during this period.
In 1923, Dorothy was elected the first female MP in East Anglia. Although her time in Parliament lasted only ten months, the legacy she created throughout the early 20th century is long lasting. Many of the issues Dorothy campaigned for during the First World War, such as votes for all women, free birth control, and awareness of poverty, have come to be in the present day.