The Suffragette leader Charlotte Marsh poses for the photographer Christina Broom, before a male crowd assembled for a rally at Hyde Park. The event was the Suffragette procession of 18th June 1910 in support of the Conciliation Bill. Charlotte Marsh formerly appointed Colour Bearer for the event marched at the head of the procession carrying 'the great silk standard of the WSPU.' On her chest she bears her hunger-strike medal recently issued after she had endured three months forcible feeding in prison.

The Suffragette Organiser Charlotte Marsh, (1887-1961) joined the Women's Social and Political Union in 1907. She did not, however, become active in the movement until 1908 when she finished her training as a sanitary inspector. During her first WSPU deputation to Parliament Square in June 1908 Charlotte was arrested for obstruction and imprisoned in Holloway for one month. The following year she became WSPU organiser in Yorkshire. Whilst in prison in 1909 for heckling Asquith Charlotte became one of the first hunger-striking suffragettes to be forcibly fed. In 1910 Charlotte became WSPU organiser in Oxford and subsequently Portsmouth and Nottingham. As well as working as a full time paid regional organiser Charlotte also continued to undertake miiltant acts. For smashing nine windows in the Strand in March 1912 she ws sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. During World War I Charlotte worked as a motor mechanic, chaffeuse to Lloyd George and as a land girl whilst continuing her committments to the suffrage cause as honorary secretary of the Independent WSPU.

Suffragette rallies and demonstrations attracted a mixed crowd comprising both male and female supporters, spectators, the curious and those who just happened to be passing by. Lone female suffragettes living in a male-dominated society often placed themselves in vulnerable positions. Their courage and determination is even more striking when viewed, as here, against the backdrop of large crowds of men, not always sympathetic to the cause.


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