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Police raid at WSPU Headquarters

1908

Museum of London

Museum of London

Photograph depicting the reading of an arrest warrant to the Suffragette leaders for conduct likely to provoke a breach of the peace. The warrant, issued on 12th October 1908 followed a speech made by the three leaders Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst and Flora Drummond at a rally in Trafalgar Square the day before where they called for the audience to 'rush' the House of Commons. Arrested in the evening after the courts had closed the Suffragette leaders were detained overnight in the police cells their stay made more comfortable by a sympathetic MP who arranged for the Savoy Hotel to send in a table laid with silver and a feast served by three waiters. Found guilty at their subsequent trial the three leaders were sentenced to three months imprisonment in Holloway Gaol. Despite their arrest the 'rushing' of the Commons went ahead on October 13th without the leaders.
The image was reproduced as a postcard by the Women's Social and Political Union to raise both awareness of the Suffragette message and raise funds for the campaign.

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