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Arrest of Emmeline Pankhurst

1914

Museum of London

Museum of London

Emmeline Pankhurst being arrested while trying to present a petition to the King at Buckingham Palace, 21 May 1914. As she was being carried past a group of reporters Emmeline called out 'Arrested at the gates of the Palace. Tell the King'. Having been released from prison in March under the terms of the Cat and Mouse Act Emmeline had failed to return to Holloway at the end of the month. Arrested at Buckingham Palace she was driven straight back to Holloway to continue her sentence. The arresting officer, Chief Inspector Rolfe, seen here carrying Emmeline away from the demonstration had been ordered to arrest Emmeline by the Home Office. He died two weeks later on 26th July of blood poisoning caused by an injury to his elbow following a fall whilst on duty at Shrewsbury. Emmeline's attempt to petition the King represented a change of tactics by the suffragette leader. During 1914 she decided to bypass government ministers and deal directly with 'the Throne'. She had seen that such an appeal by Irish republicans had resulted in the King calling an Irish conference but Emmeline's attempt to engage similar royal interest in the suffragette campaign ultimately failed.

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