Suffragette’s table to go under hammer

  • United front: in the 1930s, Gladys Morrell refused to pay her taxes because she was not allowed to vote. Her furniture was seized and taken away for auction at Somerset Police Station, where suffragettes gathered and bought it back

    United front: in the 1930s, Gladys Morrell refused to pay her taxes because she was not allowed to vote. Her furniture was seized and taken away for auction at Somerset Police Station, where suffragettes gathered and bought it back


A piece of the women’s suffrage movement in Bermuda is set to go under the hammer to support the Bermuda National Trust.

The Trust’s annual Auction and Jumble Sale will feature a table from the collection of Gladys Morrell that played a role in giving women the right to vote.

As an act of defiance against being denied their voting rights, the Bermuda suffragettes refused to pay Parish Taxes which resulted in the seizing and auctioning of furniture belonging to the group.

Remaining steadfast to their cause and refusing to back down, a band of suffragettes attended these annual auctions where they bid on, won and returned seized items to their owners.

For Mrs Morrell, who was declared a national hero for her role in the suffrage movement, it was the same table seized and auctioned every year until property owning women were granted the right to vote in 1944.

The table remained in the Morrell family, but it is set to be auctioned on March 4 during the trust’s annual fundraising event at the Jack King Building in the Botanical Gardens.

Kathy Bromby, granddaughter of the late suffragette, said: “The Bermuda National Trust Auction and Jumble Sale is a natural fit for the sale of Gladys Morrell’s belongings as it is famous for being a place that features items of historical interest and I am sure that the table will go to someone who appreciates its story.”

Hugh Davidson, BNT Auction chairman, said the small cedar stretcher table, which dates back to 1670-1730, is an “attractive antique” but it is its role in the Bermuda suffrage movement that makes it fascinating.

Bill Zuill, Executive Director of the Bermuda National Trust said: “The table is a vital part of Bermuda history and as such we will only be allowing bids from local buyers to ensure that it remains on the island.

“We are grateful to Ms Bromby for choosing our event to sell several items in the Gladys Morrell collection, further fostering the link between her family and the BNT.”

The table is just one of numerous items included in this year’s auction, which will feature antique furniture, jewellery, maps and fine art being sold for charity.

“This year we are anticipating a diverse collection of donations,” Mr Zuill said. “We urge anyone looking for new homes for unloved items to consider donating them to the sale. It’s a fantastic event which will help us continue our work to protect and preserve Bermuda’s natural and built heritage.

“We welcome items suitable for the auction and for the Jumble Sale, so this is a great time to simplify your life or find a unique item for your home — while giving to a good cause.”

• The Bermuda National Trust Auction and Jumble Sale runs on March 2, 3 and 4 and is open to all. Full details on how to donate and attend can be found at www.bnt.bm or by calling 236-6483.

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Published Feb 28, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 28, 2017 at 12:36 am)

Suffragette’s table to go under hammer

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