Relative of Leicester's most famous Suffragette opens new DMU exhibition

The great grandson of Leicester’s most famous Suffragette has officially opened an exhibition at De Montfort University’s Heritage Centre which focusses on radical Leicester. 

HERITAGE NOV 2015 main

DMU Heritage Centre curator Elizabeth Wheelband helps set up the exhibition

Peter Barratt said he was delighted to formally open The Road to Reform exhibition which includes a copy of a letter his great grandmother Alice Hawkins wrote to the Leicester MP and future Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald while she was serving time in Holloway Prison.

There is also a display of a Leicestershire Suffragette’s dress, postcards belonging to Alice Hawkins and a history of the movement in the city.

DMU has also been loaned a facsimile copy of the Representation of the People Act 1918 by the Houses of Parliament. The act gave women the right to vote - as long as they were over 30!

Alice Hawkins was local to the area around DMU, working at Equity Shoes, in Western Road, and living off Tudor Road, which is one of the areas covered by the pioneering DMU Square Mile initiative.


Come to a DMU Open Day

DMU opens new Heritage Centre

Rich history of the DMU campus

Peter, who can be spotted as an extra in the recently released and critically acclaimed film Suffragette, said: “This is a tremendous exhibition and brings to the Leicester public’s attention the tremendous campaigning work carried out by my great grandmother and women like her in this city 100 years ago. It is an honour to open it.”

HERITAGE NOV 2015 postcards

Postcards which belonged to Alice Hawkins

The Road to Reform also explores how Leicester has always been something of a radical city, its citizens eager to campaign for reform. The exhibition considers the careers of some local figures prominent in reform, abolition, temperance and suffrage. 

The latest exhibition in the Student Gallery of the Heritage Centre has been set up with De Montfort University’s Media Discourse Group. The Contemporary Protest exhibition examines the resurgence of social movements in Europe and beyond, with special reference to events in the UK and protest on the Spanish mainland.

The theme for Contemporary Protest is simple – wherever austerity policies are used in a bid to reduce government budget deficit, people take to the streets to call for a more humane and ultimately more radical alternative.

The exhibitions are free and open to the public between 10am and 3pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

For more details visit the DMU Heritage Centre web pages , call 0116 207 8729 or email

De Montfort University’s Heritage Centre showcases the rich history that surrounds our campus and tells the story of the university and its contribution to teaching, research and the lives of our students over 145 years. It hosts two gallery spaces which will support our ongoing temporary exhibitions programme.

Built around the medieval arches of the Church of Annunciation, the Heritage Centre tells visitors the story of The Newarke and how this historic location developed during Roman settlement, expanded into a significant religious site during the 1300s and is believed to be where King Richard III’s body was laid out for public view, before he was buried at Grey Friars Church.



Posted on Monday 9th November 2015

Search news archive

DMU open days
News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Events target area image

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.