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Gold bracelet

1900-1909

Museum of London

Museum of London

This gold bracelet belonged to the militant suffragette Edith How-Martyn. As a supporter of the Tax Resistance League, Edith refused to pay tax, resulting in the seizure of goods to the value of taxes owed. This bracelet was seized on several occasions when Edith refused to pay taxes. On each occasion, it was bought back in a public sale by a sympathetic fellow member of the TRL and returned to Edith, only to be seized again.
The Tax Resistance League was formed in October 1909 in order to carry out a campaign of organised resitance by women to taxation. It drew on a tradition of the women's suffrage cause dating back to the 1870s, and centred on the greivance that women, although unenfranchised, were subject to taxation. Adopting the motto "No Vote, No Tax!" the TRL appealed particularly to medical and other professional women, but membership was also open to those not liable to pay income tax. Indeed, refusal to pay any kind of taxation could result in serious consequences. For example. Emma Spronson's refusal to pay for a dog licence saw her imprisoned in 1911, where she went on hunger strike. In order to engage public opinion and spread the principles of women's suffrage, it was TRL policy to make the sale of goods (seized from women by bailiffs in lieu of tax) public meetings. On theses occasions TRL members would often try and buy the goods in order to return them to their owner. The league organised conferences and meetings aimed at members of both constiutional and militant suffrage societies. It also took a platform at the WSPU organised Hyde Park demonstration of 23 July 1910.

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