Edith Garrud: the Suffragette who knew jujutsu

Cover sample

Announcing the publication of a new book for teenage readers, or indeed for any reader interested in the true story of Edith Garrud, who taught jujutsu to the secret Bodyguard society of the English women’s suffrage movement.

Edith and her husband William were among the first generation of English jujutsu instructors, having learned the art from Bartitsu Club instructor Sadakazu Uyenishi and other notables.

The book details Edith Garrud’s life and career as a self defence instructor in Edwardian London and the adventures of the jujutsu-trained Bodyguard society, known as the Jujutsuffragettes, in protecting their leaders from arrest and assault. My hope is that it will inspire some young people, especially girls, both to stand up for what they believe in and also to enroll in martial arts training.

Suggested for readers aged 12 and older; includes 29 illustrations.

To view a free PDF preview and to order online, please visit the virtual bookstore.

26 thoughts on “Edith Garrud: the Suffragette who knew jujutsu”

  1. Dear Tony Wolf

    Congratulations on your book on my great aunt, Edith Garrud. You seem to have done your research very well and what you say about her fits with what I know. You have fouund out much more about her than I have, hoewver, and I would be very grateful to know where to look to learn more.

    She said little to us about her time as a sufferagette but she did mention the cartoon in Punch Magazine which you used on the book cover. Her early background is not made clear in the records because her mother, Clara Williams, was not married when Edith was born. She was brought up by her aunt and uncle. I still have the letter she wrote to my mother when I was born, and other pieces of our family story she gave us when she was in her nineties.

    I will order the book today and look forward to reading more of my great aunt, and would be most grateful to hear from you.

    with thanks and best wishes

    Martin Williams

  2. Hi Martin,

    it’s great that we’re hearing from the descendants of so many of the people associated with the Bartitsu Club and the early British jiujitsu scene.

    My main sources for this book were:

    Crawford, Elizabeth. “The women’s suffrage movement, 1866-1928” 2001, p240

    Garrud, Edith. “The World We Live In: Self-Defence”, Votes for Women newspaper, March 4, 1910, p355.

    Mackenzie, Midge. “Shoulder to Shoulder”, 1988

    Raeburn, Antonia. “The Militant Suffragettes”, 1976, p96

    Wilson, Gretchen. “With All Her Might: The Life of Gertrude Harding, Militant Suffragette”, 1998

    Winn, Godfrey. “Dear Mrs. Garrud – I wish I’d known you then … ” Woman Magazine, June 19, 1965

    … and a collection of newspaper reports, advertisements and so-on from the Daily Mirror, Daily Express etc., roughly 1908-1918.

    Virtually every scrap of information I picked up during my research appears in the book in some form or other, and I really hope you enjoy it. By the same token, I’d be very interested to hear more about Edith’s life based on your family records. You can email me at tonywolf@gmail.com .

    My best,

    Tony Wolf

  3. I should be most interested in seeing this book – I am her grandson and could, perhaps, add to your knowledge since ‘Garry’ lived with us for years. I cam well remeber both her and William, her husband.

  4. Hello Iam Edith and William Garrud’s granddaughter. My father John (their son) was also involved with them in the art of jiujitsu

  5. Hello Sybil,

    thanks for contacting us. We’d love to learn more about Edith, William and John, particularly about their jiujitsu experiences.

  6. Hi, I’m Edith’s grandaughter, sister of Sybil Evans (above). This is on behalf of Mary Gould who is also Edith’s grandaughter but was more closely involved with her than we were. She says – “I would be interested to read the book by Tony Wolf but I’m afraid that some of his sources of information may have been economical with the truth. I was born in 1925 the oldest of 3 children and we lived at 68 Church Street London in a house that was owned by Edith, but she and William Garrud had parted long before then so perhaps her ownership of that house gave rise to the supposition that the pair were involved in the property market. We then moved to Kyverdale Road London and I don’t think Edith had anything to do with that move. I certainly don’t remember her living with us. My sister Joan and I were ocassionally taken to visit Dan, Isobel and Carrie O’Dell, could Dan and Isobel have been the aunt and uncle who looked after Edith during her early years? A tenuous link is that my own second name is Isobel. Edith taught Joan and I how to manipulate Indian clubs but no mention of Jujitsu was ever made. When Edith and William parted their son John went with William and learnt jujitsu and fencing, their daughter, my mother, went with Edith and was more interested in swimming and diving but got no encouragement from Edith. Edith had a sister who I think went to Australia, and a brother, Lewis who had 2 sons, Idris and Ivor. I remember them visiting Edith and I wonder if Martin Williams (above) is a son or grandson of either. I cannot at the moment think of anything more that might be relevant. As I don’t have a computer my cousin is sending this for me, please make use of any of the above if it is relevant.

  7. Hi Jenny and Mary,

    thanks for making contact.

    I’m afraid that my research revealed very little about Edith’s early life, so I can’t help with regards Dan and Isobel. There is a reference to William and Edith’s daughter, whose name I have recorded as Isabel, helping them run their jiujitsu school circa 1911.

    I’d very much like to learn when William and Edith separated; with nothing else to go on at the time I wrote the book, I assumed that they were still together at least until 1925.

    If any of your family do read the book and can offer additional information or corrections, I’ll be very happy to amend the text in future editions. I can be contacted directly at tonywolf@gmail.com .

  8. Interestingly my mum has done a lot of research on the Garrud family. According to their wedding certificate, she was Elizabeth Margaret Williams (perhaps shortened to Edith?) and her father is listed as Frank Williams (deceased) a tailor.

  9. Dear Tony

    Could you please publish my e-mail address or even better forward this message (if you would be so kind) to the members of the Garrud family who have posted messages to this site in the last couple of months ? These are Kate Hymans, Jenny Cooper and Sybil Evans, who clearly know quite a bit about Edith’s background. Mary Gould (as narrated by Jenny Cooper above)has correctly identified me as the son of Idris Williams. I have some notes on the history of her family written by Edith in the 1960s which need someone who knew to help me decipher. I would like to show Edith’s notes to some of the family members above so that with the knowledge that I have and an understanding of Edith’s notes, we may be able to piece together her early life and understand what formed her character and made her into the pioneer she became.

    Thank you, Tony, for all your help so far. Your telling of Edith’s story has interested several people in the academic world and I think we are moving towards a better appreciation of Edith and her achievements.

    Looking forward to hearing from the family

    Martin Williams

  10. Dear Tony

    We all now have an opportunity to vote for a memorial plaque to record Edith’s memory as a pioneer of Jujutsu and a suffragette. Islington Council in London will erect a plaque on one of the houses where she lived if she receives enough votes on http://www.islington.gov.uk/Leisure/heritage/heritage_borough/bor_plaques/default.asp . Edith is one of ten candidates for a plaque and Islington say that the top five will have a plaque. I am sure that many in the jujutsu community will want to vote. Are you able to bring this to their attention, please, Tony. Let me know if you have any trouble voting.

    Congratulations, Tony, on making this possible and starting off this move to commemorate Edith by writing your excellent book about her.

    I am to meet two of her grand children – Jenny and Sybil tomorrow so I am hopeful that between us we will put together more information about Edith’s early life.

    with best wishes


  11. Pingback: » Vote for Edith!

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