activism Book reviews book shops Circaidy Gregory Press Politics women

Fish heads are still flying

It’s a contentious thing, being a feminist. There are always plenty of vocal people wanting to loudly disapprove of you. Not least of the obstacles that need to be addressed is that of class. I read a story recently about a woman who told those less well off than herself to save money by cooking fish heads. The response was, “really? So who’s eating the rest of the fish?”

I have no idea if the story is true, or whether the feminist concerned deserved the jibe, but I do wonder whether it’s why some citizens of Hastings responded to suffragette meetings in their day by throwing fish heads at the women.

Fish-heads, fire-raising and force-feeding – Ann Kramer’s history of Hastings and St Leonards suffragettes

Ann Kramer’s book, Turbulent Spinsters, gets its title from a long-ago letter in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer, giving that description of local votes-for-women activists. A bit different to this week, when that same paper gave their front page to an event by Kramer’s organisation, Women’s Voice…

Ann Kramer, chair of Women’s Voice, said: “What we’re protesting about, what we’re marching about, today is demanding an end to violence against women…”

These days of course, there are other issues that feminists get shouted at over. ‘Turbulent Spinsters’ – was that a fair description? Reading Kramer’s book, I discovered that a lot of the Hastings suffragettes were married and that, although there was a pretty dramatic incident of fire-raising, the finger of blame for it was pointed at that turbulent lot from Brighton.

There is though, plenty to tell about the local suffragettes, including the story of Muriel Matters, after whom our local council offices were named (with a fair degree of turbulence as a consequence). So whilst they weren’t, on the whole, spinsters, there was a fair bit of turbulence.

Thus, feminism down the ages always comes in for some colourful criticism. If you’d like to know what the suffragettes of Hastings and St Leonards really did get up to, and how the town responded, Ann Kramer’s book is for you. There are some quite dramatic surprises.

Buy the book from Foyles

Buy the book from

Or if you’re in or near Hastings, please contact me to buy direct, post-free.

Book reviews book shops Circaidy Gregory Press

Books in times of lockdown

Well, here we are in lockdown again and among the trials and tribulations, our beloved bookshops are closed once more. If you’re in Hastings, please remember Bookbuster and Printed Matter still have ordering systems in place, and other shops around the town – and everywhere! – are offering their titles through online stores.

Here’s a selection of Circaidy Gregory Press non-fiction books currently available to buy online at

This Damn Puppeteer 

This Damn Puppeteer by Brian Charles Harding - cover pic
Brian Charles Harding’s
story of life on the street

“I know everything about alcohol – except how to stop” – Brian’s book is a work of art and philosophy a story of the after-effects of child abuse and the realities of life on the street. It touches all of us.

You can read all about the book, the play and Brian’s doings in Hastings on the blog here You can buy Brian’s exraordinary biography online at here

Fish-heads, Fire-raising and Force-Feeding

Ann Kramer’s extraordinary tales of
suffragettes in Hastings and St Leonards

Women’s fight for the vote in Hastings and St Leonards

You can buy Turbulent Spinsters online at

What’s the Story?

Printmakers: Artists talking about original printmaking

Superbly illustrated accounts of their lives and works by local original print makers – you can by What’s the Story? online at

It’s not just about the planets

Composer Michael Short tells the story of Holst’s life, his socialism and his music.

A treasure-house of information, an absolutely indispensable guide – Tony Palmer

Mr Short’s book is a landmark among tributes. – Anthony Burgess, The Observer

More info on the blog here

Buy Gustav Holst: the Man and his Music online at

If you are looking for other Circaidy Gregory titles while the shops are closed, please drop us a message on the blog contact page here

Good luck, look after yourself, and don’t forget there’s still a world of books to explore!