Suffragette Table To Be Auctioned At Trust Event

February 25, 2017 | 14 Comments

The Bermuda National Trust Annual Auction and Jumble Sale has been chosen as the venue for the sale of a piece of furniture which played a key role in getting women the right to vote in Bermuda.

The Auction on Saturday, March 4th will feature a table from the collection of Gladys Morrell, leader of the 30-year campaign for women’s suffrage in Bermuda.

This is expected to be the highlight of this year’s event where items such as antique furniture, jewellery, maps and fine art go under the hammer for charity,

Hugh Davidson, BNT Auction Chairman, says: “The small cedar stretcher table, circa 1670-1730, is an attractive antique but what makes it truly fascinating is the role it played during the campaign for female enfranchisement led by Morrell and others during the earlier part of last century.”

Suffragette Gladys Morrell’s cedar table, which was made between 1670 and 1730 and was later seized and auctioned after she refused to pay taxes without being allowed to vote.

Gladys Morrell's table Bermuda Feb 24 2017

As an act of defiance against being denied their voting rights, the Bermuda Suffragettes refused to pay Parish Taxes which resulted in the seizing and subsequent auctioning of furniture belonging to the group.

Remaining steadfast to their cause and refusing to back down, a band of suffragettes attended these annual auctions where they bid on, won and returned seized items to their owners.

In Gladys Morrell’s case, it was the same table every year until property owning women were granted the right to vote in 1944. That vote was a vital stage in the march to universal adult suffrage which was achieved 19 years later.

Fast forward to 2017 and the table, which has remained in the Morrell family since, will go to auction once more on Saturday, March 4th during the Trust’s fundraising event held at the Jack King Building in the Botanical Gardens.

Kathy Bromby, granddaughter of the late suffragette says: “The Bermuda National Trust Auction and Jumble Sale is a natural fit for the sale of Gladys Morrell’s belongings as it is famous for being a place that features items of historical interest and I am sure that the table will go to someone who appreciates its story. “

Suffragettes gather outside Somerset Police Station while Gladys Morrell’s furniture was being auctioned in the 1930s

Gladys Morrell's furniture being auctioned Bermuda Feb 24 2017

Bill Zuill, Executive Director of the Bermuda National Trust said: “The table is a vital part of Bermuda history and as such we will only be allowing bids from local buyers in order to ensure that it remains on the island.

“We are grateful to Kathy Bromby for choosing our event to sell several items in the Gladys Morrell collection, further fostering the link between her family and the BNT.”

The Bermuda National Trust acquired the Gladys Morrell Nature Reserve in Mangrove Bay after the land was gifted by the late suffragette to the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire who then donated the land to the Bermuda National Trust in 1973.

Gladys Morrell: Founder of the Bermuda Woman’s Suffrage Society

Gladys Morrell Bermuda Feb 24 2017

“This year we are anticipating a diverse collection of donations,” continues Mr Zuill, “we urge anyone looking for new homes for unloved items to consider donating them to the sale, it’s a fantastic event which will help us continue our work to protect and preserve Bermuda’s natural and built heritage.

“We welcome items suitable for the auction and for the Jumble Sale, so this is a great time to simplify your life or find a unique item for your home – while giving to a good cause.”

The Bermuda National Trust Auction and Jumble Sale runs on March 2nd, 3rd and 4th and is open to all. Full details on how to donate and attend can be found via www.bnt.bm or by calling 236-6483

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Comments (14)

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  1. Upset voter says:

    Thats part of a family legacy and many of us cant even trace our ancestors back that far because of slavery and its very fortunate for those of you that can. With such privilege and the history behind it, this is a sentimental item that should stay on their family.

  2. sugraknab says:

    If you can’t trace your ancestry back 85 years to 1930s, then you have my sincere sympathies.

    While I wouldn’t presume to tell anyone what to do with their historically important heirlooms, I do applaud Mrs. Morell’s descendents for supporting a very worthy cause with their donations.

    Imagine how sadly lacking our National Museum would be were it not for so many likeminded members of the community.

    • Most Black Bermudians cant trace their anscestors currently past 4 generations because of ristricted records and denial of privileges.

      • Longtail says:

        Typical rubbish from Onion Juice.
        The Bermuda Government Registry General has kept records of ALL local births, marriages and deaths commencing in the mid 19th Century, prior to that local clergy kept records, usually separated into ‘white’ and ‘black’. To state that there were ‘restricted records’ or some racial ‘privilege’ in the record keeping is typical of the complete nonsense we have learned to expect from OJ.

  3. Ms. Poli Tician says:

    Another fascinating aspect of this article would be the identity of the skilled carpenter who made such a beautiful piece that has lasted 300+ years.

  4. Longtail says:

    Just WHY is the BNT auctioning this historic piece of furniture? Its place in Bermuda’s history is well known and the table really should be on display in a BNT property so all can appreciate its heritage. Why is it simply being sold on rater than being retained as an important link to Bermuda’s past????

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