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WSPU Holloway Prisoners banner

Macbeth, Ann1910

Museum of London

Museum of London

Suffragette banner composed of 80 rectangular pieces of linen sewn together and bordered by green and purple panels. The 80 pieces of linen are embroidered in purple cotton with the signatures of eighty Suffragette hunger-strikers who, by 1910, had 'faced death without flinching'. Along the top is embroidered 'Women's Social and Political Union' in Scottish art nouveau style along with the names of the suffragette leaders Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney. The banner was first carried in the 'From Prison to Citizenship' procession in June 1910 to symbolise the spirit of comradeship that gave suffragette prisoners the strength and courage to endure hunger strike and force feeding.

The banner was originally designed as a traditional friendship quilt by the embroiderer Ann Macbeth. Ann was head ot the embroidery department at the Glasgow School of Art. On completing the quilt she donated it to the WSPU Scottish Exhibition and Bazaar held at St Andrew Hall, Charing Cross, Glasgow in April 1910 to raise funds for the Suffragette campaign. The Votes for Women newspaper described the donation as 'A suffrage linen quilt, with a beautiful design in the colours by the well known artist, Ann Macbeth, and containing the embroidered names of hunger strikers, forms an interesting memento, and will be sold for £10'. A following entry notes that '...the quilt embroidered with the names - in their own handwriting - of all the hunger strikers...has been bought by one of the leaders, Mrs Pethick Lawrence'.

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