Rise Up, Women! A look at the militant activism of the suffragette movement.
The first arrest of Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney in 1905 set a marker for future tactics. As frustrations with government refusal to grant women the vote increased, so direct action became more confrontational.
Between 1905 and 1914, over 1,300 Suffragettes were arrested and many of these served multiple terms of imprisonment for a range of criminal offences from obstruction to arson.
Following this attack on the windows of 270 premises, the police discovered that 24 toffee hammers had been purchased in February from a shop in Fetter Lane, by a 'well set up intellectual lady'.
Around 220 arrests were made on March 1, and more on subsequent days, as Emmeline Pankhurst declared: ‘The argument of the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics’.
Growing experience and confidence resulted in the development of more sophisticated incendiary and bomb making devices.
Within the Museum of London collection are two metal washers used to devastating effect in Suffragette ‘pillar box’ work. Posted along with an incendiary device, they were intended to cause maximum destruction to the letters within.
Suffragette ‘outrages’ drew some surprising responses.
An extraordinary letter in the Museum collection addressed to 'Se. Suffrage' and signed 'Reeve 112 Vassall Road Brixton' informs WSPU Headquarters that he has the 'means to assist you in your plots' through access to the Royal Dockyard, and 'could cause thousands of pounds damage easily'.
As a condition of helping, he requests that the Suffragettes 'must pay sum of few pounds for expenses first and what you think fit afterwards on completion'.
Postcard sent to Annie Williams, WSPU Organiser for Wales in 1913: "We have not heard of any injustices being inflicted upon the Women of this country except the abominable, execrable, and diabolical outrages perpetuated by Female Hooligans who are a disgrace to their sex and to their nation and who ought to receive punishment to the utmost rigour of the law."