Rona Robinson

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Rona Robinson was a British suffragette and in 1905 the first woman in the United Kingdom to gain a first-class degree in chemistry.[1] It was awarded to her by the Victoria University of Manchester.

After university, Robinson became a teacher at Altrincham Pupil-Teacher Centre, where Dora Marsden (later editor of The Freewoman) was assistant-mistress and later headmistress. Whilst at Altrincham, Cheshire, Robinson and Marsden developed a mutual interest in women's suffrage. Both left the school after a dispute over wages to concentrate their attention on Women's Social and Political Union activities, becoming paid regional representatives. Both were imprisoned for a month after taking part in a deputation to see the Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith in 1909.[1]

Robinson was arrested for a second time with Marsden and fellow suffragette Mary Gawthorpe for disrupting the opening of laboratories[when?] by the Chancellor of the Victoria University of Manchester with questions about recent force-feeding tactics employed by the prison wardens holding hunger-striking suffragettes. The rough handling employed by the police reputedly moved the Chancellor to pressure the University into not pressing charges.[citation needed]

Robinson was a Gilchrist postgraduate scholar in Home Science and Economics at King’s College for Women in 1912, but resigned citing that the course offered was "worthless from an educational point of view".[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Spink Medal Newsletter". Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  2. ^ The Freewoman, 1912, Vol 1 No 13 p 256
  • Les Garner Dora Marsden: A Brave and Beautiful Spirit. Aldershot : Avebury, c1990.
pp. 18–33; 36 & 47