Diane Atkinson

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Diane Atkinson is a British historian and author who lives in Shoreditch, London.[1]

She has written many books about the Suffragettes, and about women in history, most recently The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton, for Random House (2012). The legal case that George Norton brought against his free-thinking wife Caroline Sheridan for criminal conversation – adultery, that is – in 1836 was a scandal of the Georgian era, that drew in Lord Melbourne and other leading figures. Atkinson's book is "the liberating life story of the first feminist legislator", according to Kathy Lette.[2]

"In this fascinating book, Diane Atkinson does a lot more than simply remind us of a story that deserves to be more widely known", wrote Kathryn Hughes about Atkinson's Elsie and Mairi Go To War: "She also given us a ripping yarn about two plucky English gels who performed miracles while also having the time of their lives."[3] She narrated the stage presentation Elsie and Mairi Go To War at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival.[4]

Atkinson's book Love and Dirt about the marriage of Arthur Munby and Hannah Cullwick was also very widely reviewed and Atkinson contributed to Upstairs Downstairs Love, a Channel Four drama documentary based upon it that was screened on 16 June 2008.

Atkinson was a curator at the Museum of London and prepared their Suffragette exhibition in 1992.[5]

She is a graduate of the University of East Anglia. She married the artist Patrick Hughes in 1986.[6]


  • The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton (Random House, 2012)
  • Elsie and Mairi go to War (2009)
  • Love and Dirt (2004)
  • Funny Girls: Cartooning for Equality, (Penguin, 1997) a book of cartoons about the Suffragette movement
  • The Suffragettes in Pictures (1996)
  • The Purple, White and Green: Suffragettes in London (Museum of London, 1992)
  • Votes for Women (1998).


  • Maroulla Joannou, "To defend the oppressed", Gender and History, Vol. 10, No. 2, August 1998, pp. 312–315 – a review of The Suffragettes in Pictures
  • Kathryn Hughes, "Book of the Week: A good roll in the muck", The Guardian,, 18 January 2003 – a review of Love and Dirt
  • Victoria Lane, "A Dust Wench", The Telegraph, 25 January 2003 – a review of Love and Dirt


  1. ^ "Di, the Dauntless", Diane Atkinson website.
  2. ^ http://www.rbooks.co.uk/product.aspx?id=1848093012
  3. ^ Kathryn Hughes, "The wild girls who turned into angels", Mail on Sunday, 26 July 2009.
  4. ^ Elsie and Mairi Go To War – Press Release
  5. ^ Diane Atkinson, The Purple, White and Green: Suffragettes in London, Museum of London Catalogue, 1992.
  6. ^ Andrew Barrow, "Patrick Hughes: Double trouble", The Independent, 1 January 2006.

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