Prison medallion presented to Leonora Tyson


Museum of London

Museum of London

Silver medallion presented to the Suffragette Leonora Tyson by the Streatham branch of the Women's Social and Political Union. The obverse is inscribed LEONORA TYSON/IN REMEMBERANCE OF MARCH 9TH TO MAY 8TH 1912. A TOKEN OF APPRECIATION FROM THE STREATHAM WSPU. The reverse is marked: 'DX2 32', referring to the number of the prison wing and cell occupied by Leonora during her 2 month imprisonment in Holloway for smashing windows in March 1912. The medal was presented to Leonora on 10th May at a Prisoners reception at Streatham Town Hall organised by the Streatham branch of the Women's Social & Political Union.
Leonora (1883-1959), her mother Helen and sister Diana joined the WSPU around 1908. In 1909 Leonora became honorary secretary of the Streatham branch and in 1910, organising secretary of the Lambeth branch. As well as attending weekly meetings on Streatham Common, Leonora was an effective fundraiser for the campaign organising Streatham's contribution to the Women's Exhibition of 1909. In 1911 she took part in the Census boycott by spending census night, along with other Suffragettes, at her local WSPU branch shop at 5 Shrubbery Road, Streatham. Leonora was bi-lingual, her Father being German. In October 1911 she represented the WSPU at the Women's Congress in Hamburg, the following year she returned to Germany for a speaking tour on female suffrage.
In March 1912 Leonora served her only prison sentence for militancy. Sentenced to two months hard labour for breaking windows at Government Offices she went on hunger strike and was force-fed. From her prison letters Leonora indicates that she went on hunger strike from Sunday 14th April at 4pm and was first force-fed on Wednesday 17th April at 5pm. She was released from prison on 8th May 1912.

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