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Janet McCallum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Janet McCallum
Janet "Jenny" McCallum.jpg
in a prisoner outfit
Born 21 July, 1881
Died 24 March, 1946
Nationality United Kingdom
Other names Jenny McCullum
Occupation Linen worker
Known for Suffragette and trade unionist

Janet "Jenny" McCallum or Janet Richardson (21 July, 1881 – 24 March, 1946) was a United Kingdom trade unionist and suffragette.


McCallum was born in Dunfermline in 1881. She was the eldest of the thirteen children of John and Jenny Richardson. Her father worked on the construction of the Forth Bridge. She worked in a linen weaving factory and she was unusual in becoming a working class woman who was active in the women's suffrage movement.[1]

In 1907 she organised what was called a "Great Demonstration" where the national leaders of the Women's Social and Political Union would come to West Fife.[2]

By 1908,[3] she had joined Anne Munro in the Women's Freedom League.[4] The league was a break away group from the WSPU who objected to the autocratic management of the Pankhursts.[5] By 27 October 1908 she was in London. She had abandoned her job in a Dunfermline linen factory.[6] She and 14 others were arrested after staging a demonstration in Old Palace Yard outside the houses of parliament; "a newspaper report says "four very athletic suffragettes clambered on a statue".".[3] She was given the choice of paying a £5 fine or serving a sentence and chose a one month sentence. After leaving Holloway Prison she went to Glasgow on behalf of the WFL.[2]

She returned to Dunfermline and after some time she went back into work so that she could help support her mother and sister. She married Harry Richardson in 1915 and they had three children. In 1919 she come to the fore in a dispute with the Scottish National Housing Company. She gathered attention for the Rosyth tenants who were involved in what was presented as a women led rent strike. The dispute led to some tenants appearing in court and McCallum was able to arrange for Sylvia Pankhurst to speak on their behalf.[2]

In the 1920s Harry and Janet decided to emigrate as there was little work in Scotland. By the time votes for women were agreed, she was living in South Africa.[3] McCallum died in Pretoria in South Africa 1946.[2]


  1. ^ "Scotland's forgotten sisters". Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Chris Neale, ‘McCallum , Janet Hutchison (1881–1946)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 24 Nov 2017
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ Anna Munro grew up in Edinburgh. She originally joined the WSPU but followed Teresa BillingtonGreig into the WFL and became her private secretary.
  5. ^ "Alice Schofield". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  6. ^ "McCallum Family of Dunfermline – The Fife Post………..for genealogy, history & information". Retrieved 25 November 2017.
This page was last edited on 21 July 2018, at 08:52
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