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Churchill faced Nazis, but feared women

india Updated: Jun 01, 2010 16:55 IST

PTI
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A letter written by Winston Churchill reveals that he was afraid of women who were campaigning for voting rights during early twentieth century.

The letter, written by Churchill in August 1909, when he was a Liberal MP, discloses his concerns about meeting 'suffragettes' at a talk he was due to give in Leicester.

The word Suffragettes derives from suffrage, the right to vote. He requested in the letter that stewards at the talk check "cupboards and recesses are properly examined" at the venue where he was due to speak, to ensure suffragettes were not hiding in wait to disrupt the meeting.

In 1909, British women were not allowed to vote. The letter, which is expected to fetch up to 3,000 pounds at auction, is addressed to Churchill's former assistant private secretary, Eliot Crawshay-Williams.

Churchill wrote: "The principal thing about which I am concerned for the Leicester meeting is the disturbances by women. I hope you will see all proper precautions are taken, that no women are allowed in the meeting unless vouched for."

Churchill also warned about attempts to rush the doors, which he said had "been a feature of previous meetings". He gave detailed instructions for measures, including "a sufficiency of stewards" and a thorough search of the building, with "the roof as well as all cupboards and recesses being properly examined".

He also demanded police presence on the street outside. The letter, which goes under the hammer at Christie's auction house, is among the 147 Churchill items for sale, which include signed photographs, rare books and a Havana cigar.

Thomas Venning, director of books and manuscripts at Christie's in London, said: "This collection presents an exceptional and fascinating insight into Churchill's personality. Churchill was frequently interrupted at events by Votes For Women protesters."