I was googling about on the internet a month back and decided to try the name of Maude Smith, who was my grandfather’s first cousin. She was a suffragette. I thought that there might be a bit about, if not about her directly, then perhaps about the Birmingham movement. It was a most rewarding experience.


You see Maude was a big name in the suffragette movement, having defaced a painting at the Royal Academy, and being arrested- twice. And forced fed. In addition to this claim to fame, she also lived a gloriously long time, and was interviewed by a historian in the mid-1970s, just before her death. The British Library of Political and Economic Science has the tapes available for consultation in their archives. I was able to obtain a digital copy and listened aptly at her descriptions of her family life and her activities in the movement.[Reference 8SUF/B/030]

George Clausens' Primavera which was vandalized by Maude Smith
George Clausens’ Primavera which was vandalized by Maude Smith

What I thought was interesting were the questions about the family, and Maude’s answers. She was not all that up on family, or wasn’t interested in talking too much about them. So a lot of the things she said were incomplete, and for the researcher, who I think was trying to obtain more about her class, upbringing and social life, it must have been frustrating.

I thought I could add a bit to the mix. Although I haven’t much on Maude’s Smith family I do have a lot about her mother’s Jennings family, and I know the names of all her siblings. Something even she was reluctant to name.

Father: Sidney Smith, born 1854 in Bickenhill, Warwickshire or Lyndon End (census). He was a wholesale jeweller, and is in the Birmingham directory from 1804-1904 with that occupation, at 98 Vyse Street. In the 1891 census he was a commercial traveller. They lived at Small Heath. In the 1901 Census they are listed as living in Albert Road, Yardley.
He married Kate Jennings on the 19 June 1881 at St Edburgha’s in Yardley. Kate was the daughter of Thomas Jennings, butcher/publican and Emma Newberry. See my other posts about the Jennings family on this blog. The Jennings family owned the Swan Pub in Yardley.

Their children:
Isabel Maude Kate born 7 Sep 1881 in Solihull, Warwickshire. The 1891 census says she was born in Lysely. In the 1901 census she is visiting in Great Comberton, Warwickshire. She died in the spring of 1977.
Sidney S Smith was born in 1885 in Small Heath.
Percival T Smith was born in 1889 in Berkswill, Warwickshire.
Lester H Smith was born in 1896 in Handsworth.
Dorothy M Smith was born in 1898 in Stetchford.
Leslie Smith was her other brother, and I don’t have that much information on him.