Constance Lytton

Constance Lytton

Lady Constance Georgina Bulwer-Lytton (Jane Warton, Jane Wharton) (born 12 January 1869, Vienna, died 2 May 1923, Knebworth House) was an influential British suffragette activist, writer, speaker and campaigner for prison reform, votes for women, and birth control.

Although she was raised as member of the privileged, ruling class elite within British Society, she rejected this background to join the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), the most militant group of Suffragette activists, campaigning for "Votes for Women".

She was subsequently imprisoned four times including once in Walton gaol in Liverpool under the nom de guerre Jane Warton, where she was force fed whilst on hunger strike. She chose the alias and disguise of Jane Warton, an 'ugly London seamstress', to avoid receiving special treatment and privileges because of her family title . (Her brother was a member of the House of Lords.) She wrote pamphlets on women's rights, articles in The Times newspaper, and a book on her experiences Prisons and Prisoners which was published in 1914.

While imprisoned in Holloway during March 1909 she used a piece of broken enamel from a hairpin to carve the letter "V" into the flesh of her breast, placed exactly over the heart. "V" for Votes for Women.

She remained a spinster because her mother refused permission to marry a man from a "lower social order"and she refused to contemplate marrying anyone else.

Her heart attack, stroke and early death at the age of 54 have been attributed in part to the trauma of hunger strike and force feeding by the prison authorities.

Read more about Constance Lytton:  Family, Women's Suffrage, Death and Commemoration, Winston Churchill, Timeline, See Also, Archives, Bibliography

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