GOLF course flag switches, school fire-raising, cinema protest – the hidden history of suffragettes in the north-east of Scotland is revealed in an interactive online project.

The digital database of the suffrage movement in Aberdeen and the surrounding area is now live thanks to Professor Sarah Pederson of Robert Gordon University and her team.

Users can navigate either current or historic area maps to pinpoint the places that helped campaigning women make history and win the right to vote. Spanning 1867-1918, the project aims to take our understanding of the suffrage movement beyond London, revealing “forgotten” activity around Banff, Balmoral and beyond.

Incidents covered include appearances by women’s rights figurehead Emmeline Pankhurst and the 1914 Queen’s Cinema protest, at which female viewers stamped and hissed at force-feeding scenes included in the movie A Militant Suffragette.

The practice was used on hunger striking pro-votes prisoners under the so-called Cat and Mouse Act.

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Meanwhile, flags at Balmoral Golf Course were switched for replacements in purple – one of the colours of the suffrage movement – bearing suffrage slogans in 1912 and copies of The Suffragette newspaper were found at the scene of a serious fire at Aberdeen’s Ashley Road school in 1913. Police believed the blaze was deliberately set.

Pederson, who specialises in communications and media, hopes the new resource will give north-east communities a stronger sense of their history.

And she hopes to extend the project across the entire country. She said: “The activities of Scottish suffragists and suffragettes have been overshadowed by what went on in London, to the extent that the history of the movement being taught at higher level in schools in Scotland focuses mainly on English action.

“The website maps the activity of the women who fought for the right to vote and also contains further information about their fight for the vote. We hope that the public will engage with the project and contribute their own information.

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“People who think a relative was a suffragette could take a lead from the site to investigate their family history while local historians will be able to contribute to the history of their area. It is hoped that further funding will enable the site to grow, eventually to encompass the whole of Scotland.”

The project includes figures like Caroline Phillips, who was ejected from the Aberdeen branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union following a disagreement with Pankhurst. It also includes Helen Fraser, who toured beaches in the south of Scotland in a caravan to promote women’s suffrage to bathers.

Pederson told The National: “To Edwardian sensibilities, the woman’s place was definitely not discussing politics and telling men how to vote. These women really did get physical abuse and verbal abuse. They’d get stones and mud thrown at them and people trying to rip their clothes. They faced enormous social pressure.

“We are in danger of forgetting. It’s really important for women to know there’s a long history of campaigning for rights. These women have always faced ostracism and been told to be quiet, whether in public or through the letters page, which was the Edwardian version of social media.”

The website can be found by visiting