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Silver hunger strike medal presented to Louise Lilley

Toye & Co.1912

Museum of London

Museum of London

Silver hunger strike medal presented to the militant suffragette Louise Lilley on her release from prison, May 1912. On one side of the medal is engraved 'Hunger Strike', on the reverse 'Louise Lilley'. The medal is attached to a ribbon in the purple/white/green colours of the WSPU. A silver bar at the top of the ribbon is engraved 'For Valour', whilst the silver bar at the bottom is engraved 'March 4th 1912', referring to the date the Hunger strike began. The medal is complete with its own original presentation box.

Louise Lilley was a daughter of Tom Lilley, co-owner of the shoe-manufacturing firm Lilley & Skinner. As supporters of the suffragette campaign Louise and her sister Kate became founding members of the Clacton, Essex branch of the Women's Social and Political Union and actively campaigned for Votes for Women. In March 1912 both sisters were arrested for breaking windows in the War Office and sentenced to two months hard labour in Holloway Prison. Whilst on remand they endured a short period of hunger strike for which, on their release, they were rewarded with Hunger Strike medals. Emmeline Pankhurst would have presented these badges of honour to the sisters at a breakfast reception to mark their release on 29 April 1912.

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