Interactive Environments: Paragon Project – Research

So I decided to focus more on the historical background information occurring around 1914 as I saw the rest of the group focusing more on the architectural history of the area and historical accuracy of events, and I didn’t see the need for repeating research unnecessarily.

Herbert Henry Asquith (Prime Minister 1908-1916)

H.H Asquith was the war-time Prime Minister throughout the time period we are looking at. The primary reason i’m including him within this research is because of the effect a political leader can have on the landscape of the country. In 1905, years before taking office he was the Chancellor of the Exchequer of which he introduced a higher tax on unearned income, of which helped the pave the way for pensions for the over 70. He was also a strong supporter of free trade.

All of this would suggest his good standing with the citizens of the country, barring any local social issues that wouldn’t be accounted for from these research sources. This presents the opportunity, when approaching the Paragon Project, to portray life in a more positive outlook. Even though the project is about centenary commemorations for World War 1, the sheer social aspect of having a Prime Minister moderately in touch with the needs of the people.

Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU)

With H.H Asquith’s Liberal Party in power, the WSPU, a union forged from suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903 seeking a greater commitment to women’s political rights across the country, sought Asquith to do as liberalism would suggest and to push for political reform. When this didn’t happen, this led to militancy and protests.

The reason I’ve included this is because as sourced here and here, there’s indication that the WSPU had representation in Hull, in 1914 and prior. Mary Gawthorpe and Nellie Mortel (notable Suffragettes) doing just that. It’s common knowledge, that the WSPU postponed their protests against their lack of rights when war broke out, so it would be interesting to see a representation of this within the level at some point to show a scripted sequence of representatives of the WSPU ceasing militant action against those who opposed them.

Conscientious Objectors

A crowd of conscientious objectors to military service during the first world war at a special prison camp

Those of which when it came to the beginning of World War 1, simply did not want to fight. Either for religious reasons or simply believing in pacifism, most refused to participate. The sparked the forming of the ‘Organisation of the White Feather’ of which those that abstained from participating were branded as ‘cowards’ and forced to wear a white feather, as a way of public peer pressure to make them want to join the war effort.

I though it would be an interesting detail to add to the level to distinguish those within it that were simply not taking part in the war and how that would effect the social aspect and feel of the level, with the dissension between the women and children and those males who chose not to fight.

References 2013. BBC Radio 4 – Woman’s Hour – Women’s History Timeline: 1910 – 1919. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013].

Beckett, F. 2008. The men who would not fight. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. 2009. First World – Encyclopedia – White Feathers. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013].

Google Books. 2013. Women of the Right Spirit. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. 2013. History of Herbert Henry Asquith – GOV.UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. 2013. Women’s Social and Political Union. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. 2013. Conscientious Objectors. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. 2013. Hull’s First GP and Suffragist – Hull Museums Collections. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013].


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