DOZENS of places that were on the frontline of the suffragette struggle, including a North-East Post Office, are being officially recognised today. English Heritage has released a map showing where suffragette violent attacks, including bombs and arson, took place 100 years ago as women fought to win the vote.

Here in the North-East, only Newcastle Posdt Office is listed, where women threw stones and broke windows in their protest.

But there were many other more dramatic violent suffragette outrages in the region, like the woman who tried to blow up Durham Cathedral but instead burned down a railway station.

Connie Lewcock

CONNIE came to County Durham in 1911 when, aged 17, she got a £50-a-year post as an uncertified teacher looking after a class of 78 at Esh Winning school.

She became involved in the Independent Labour Party, and met 22-year-old Communist firebrand Will Lawther, from Chopwell – the north Durham mining community known as “Little Moscow” because of its militant tendencies.

In 1929, Lawther became the Labour MP for Barnard Castle; he became the first president of the National Union of Mineworkers in 1945, and was knighted for his political services in 1949.

But in 1913, he is said to have supplied Connie with explosives to blow up Durham Cathedral. It could have been the defining action of the suffragette movement, but Connie aborted her mission at the last moment as she couldn’t work out a way of detonating the bomb without harming herself.

Instead, on March 30, 1914, she committed what she called “the perfect crime”. With miner Joss Craddock, whom she had met at an Independent Labour Party meeting at Cornsay Colliery, she burned down the wooden Waterhouses station in Esh Winning.

They stood a candle in a jar which was half-filled with flammable bicycle liquid, placed incriminating clues – hairpins and a handkerchief with a “C” embroidered on it – at the scene, lit the candle and fled. The candle slowly burned down until its flame reached the bicycle liquid, which went up with a whoosh and destroyed the station – but the delay allowed Connie to be at a meeting some miles away where 30 witnesses testified she was present when the station went up.

The police were unable to press charges, but the Durham education secretary called Connie in and ordered her to give up political activities which were not compatible with her role as a teacher. She refused and was sacked.

During the war, she worked in Cleveland as an anti-war organiser, and in 1918 she was found guilty of making seditious speeches. She married William Lewcock, a conscientious objector from Chopwell, who became the regional organiser of the Labour Party.

In 1960, Connie was elected as a councillor in Newcastle; in 1966, she was awarded an OBE. She died in Newcastle in 1980, aged 86. Pictures in The Northern Echo archive show her as a cuddly, kind grandmother – but do they mask her past as a subversive terrorist?