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Silver hunger strike medal presented to Emmeline Pankhurst

1912

Museum of London

Museum of London

Suffragette prisoner's silver hunger strike medal with purple, white and green ribbon. Presented to Emmeline Pankhurst to commemorate her hunger strike when serving a 9 month sentence in Holloway jail for 'conspiracy to incite persons to commit damage to property'. The medal is inscribed 'For Valour/March 1st 1912/Hunger Strike/Emmeline Pankhurst'
This medal was presented to the Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst to commemorate one of her many periods of imprisonment with hunger strike. The medal, engraved with the date March 1st 1912, refers to a two month prison sentence Emmeline received for throwing a stone at a window of 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s residence. Whilst in Holloway Emmeline was also charged with ‘conspiring to incite certain persons to commit malicious damage to property’ and sentenced to a further nine months’ imprisonment.
Unlike her fellow Suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst was never force-fed by the authorities this brutal and invasive treatment being regarded too controversial to inflict on the 54 year old leader.
The following year in April 1913 Emmeline Pankhurst received her final prison sentence of three years penal servitude for incitement to place an explosive in a building at Walton, Surrey. She again went on hunger strike and was subsequently released from Holloway after several days. On her recovery she was rearrested under the terms of the Cat and Mouse Act and thus began a pattern of hunger strike, release, recuperation and re-arrest that continued until the end of July when the police finally decided not to re-arrest. During each period of recuperation from hunger strike Emmeline Pankhurst found refuge in a number of safe houses and was always nursed back to health by her nurse Catherine Pine.

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