Trevor’s father had working on the next in his series of history talks when he hit upon the idea of giving an address on the Suffragette movement.
He had the idea totally independently of the film of the same name, which has become a bit of a box office hit for Holywood A-lister Meryl Streep, which may or may not have influenced the huge audience who attended the talk.
“My dad asked me to get him some information,” said Trevor.
“I already knew that Emily Pankhurst gave a talk in the city in October 1910, which was reported in the Derry Standard of October 10, 1910.
“I also knew that the talk was organised by a woman called Margaret Cousins,” said Trevor, slowly bringing the conversation round.
“I was reading the Irish Women’s Studies Reader and there is an article in it about the Irish women Suffragettes and it contained some information on Margaret. I also knew there was information on Emily Wilding Davison in it and she wrote letters to the Derry Standard in February 1911, complaining about their stance on the Suffragette isue.
“I also knew about another woman called Charlotte Despard and I knew she gave a talk in the city in March 1910, so I went to chase down some details on it. That talk was presided over by a woman called Miss Kathleen Gerome Coyle, and she wrote a book dealing with her upbringing in Londonderry, entitled ‘The Magical Realm’ and in it she refers to a school friend, Laura Gailey and I thought to myself ‘that’s my Laura Gailey from the War Memorial, it has to be her,’ he said.
Determined to ensure it was indeed the nurse from the Great War on the Cenotaph (it is), Trevor hunted out the 1901 Census and tracked her down.
“It is powerful the way things years apart link up. It amazed me that I researched Laura years ago and this year discovered she went to school with a Suffragette.”