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Untold Suffragette stories: celebrating the women almost forgotten by history
9 November 2017
Votes for Women
Museum of London
2 February 2018 – 6 January 2019
To commemorate the centenary of the first women winning the right to vote, and as part of Vote 100, the Museum of London highlights the untold stories of women in the Suffragette movement.
In February 1918, after over half a century of campaigning, a bill was passed that gave the first women the right to vote in the UK. Although the bill, introduced to a war weary nation, passed quietly into law it signalled that finally women’s role in public life and society was beginning to advance.
Through a programme of events, displays and a newly commissioned film, the museum will draw upon its unique Suffragette collection, the largest in the world relating to the militant campaign, to highlight the material and visual legacy of the Suffragette story and its impact on society and politics between 1903 and 1914.
To mark this significant moment in history, the Museum of London’s Votes for Women programme will focus on the stories of unknown Suffragettes that fought tirelessly with courage for the right to vote. The Suffragette campaign with its motto ‘deeds not words’ believed in direct action and, at times, used extreme tactics that continue to divide opinion. Through protest, disruption and damage to property that led to the arrest and imprisonment of over 1000 women, the Suffragettes’ impact on London life became a force to be reckoned with in the early years of the 20th century.
Women that will be featured include:
- Emily ‘Kitty’ Willoughby Marshall, who was arrested six times and imprisoned in Holloway three times for militant actions. Her first sentence being November 1910 for throwing a potato at a window at the residence of the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill.
- Louise Eates, a founding member and Secretary of the Kensington Branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union, one of the largest and most successful of the local branches in raising funds for the ‘war chest’.
- Winefride Mary Rix, who, as a mother of a 12 year old daughter, was sentenced to two months hard labour for smashing a window at the War Office.
- Janie Terrero, A suffragist since the age of 18, Janie joined the militant Women’s Social and Political Union in 1908. In March 1912 Janie was imprisoned in Holloway for four months for window smashing. During her imprisonment she went on hunger strike twice and was forcibly fed until released a few days before the end of her sentence.
Programme highlights include:
- A display of highly personal and iconic objects from the museum’s collections relating to the imprisonment of individual Suffragettes. Objects include Emmeline Pankhurst’s hunger strike medal.
- A newly commissioned film installation highlighting the individual commitment and courage of the lesser known Suffragette women, based entirely on the museum’s collections. Opening 2 February 2018.
- Events include an adult and family friendly weekend festival on 3 & 4 February 2018 to coincide with the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, a Suffragette bus tour of London and an adult literary event on 24th March 2018.
Beverley Cook, Social & Working History Curator at Museum of London, said:
The centenary commemoration has provided the opportunity to take a fresh look at the Votes for Women campaign, its legacy and relevance to contemporary life. As curator of the world’s largest collection of material relating to the Suffragette movement it has been a privilege to delve deep into the archive to discover the individual stories of courage, comradeship and commitment. The museum’s programme will provide a dynamic interpretation of the collection and bring many images and objects into public view for the first time.
For further information www.museumoflondon.org.uk
Notes for editors
For more press information please contact Katie Balcombe, PR Manager at the Museum of London on 020 7814 5511 / 07967 313 176 or [email protected]
About The Museum of London
The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place.
The Museum of London has one of the most complete permanent displays commemorating the Votes for Women movement.
The museum is open daily 10am – 6pm and is FREE to all, and you can explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added. www.museumoflondon.org.uk.