"Kew holds no records about the women themselves, or their reasons for targeting Kew, but hints to their motive can be found in the Old Bailey court proceedings, during which Wharry said that she believed the pavilion belonged to the government."
I don't know why, but I am fascinated by this story. The website for History Today magazine in the UK had an article last year titled "The Weaker Sex? Violence and the Suffragette Movement." I am, of course, appalled at the tactics these women took, but then I read in the article about another militant suffragette whose “anger at the treatment of women on the stage, an industry where she was expected to trade sex in return for leading roles and allow patrons of the music halls to assault her in cabs and hotels without complaint, led her to become a bomber, an arsonist and a public campaigner for the suffragette movement.” The behaviors she opposed make me angry too, but burning down buildings wasn't any way to solve the problem. I'm going to have to do a bit of research to find out what the non-violent suffragettes in the UK were doing at the time. And I find it interesting that History Today said historians would balk at calling those women "terrorists" but instead would say they were engaged in "political extremism." Reminds me of a language debate that rages on today in this country.
Go here, by the way, if you would like to see an image of the tea house before the suffragettes burned it down. And please, do let me know if any of you were aware of this bit of history. Maybe I was asleep in history class that day?