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National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies demonstration

Christina Broom1908-06-13

Museum of London

Museum of London
London, United Kingdom

Suffragists prepare to take part in the NUWSS Procession, 13 June 1908. This demonstration, organised by the constitutional National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, was intended to convince the new Liberal Prime Minister Asquith that there was mass support in the country for female suffrage. The event was attended by thousands of women from all corners of the UK who arrived in London on specially chartered trains. The 'glorious spectacle' enhanced by the gowns of doctors and graduates and 'nearly a thousand beautiful banners and bannerettes, each different, each wrought in gorgeous colour and rich materials' attracted much public, press and photographic interest.   The image includes several of the Famous Women series of banners designed by the founder of the Artists Suffrage League Mary Lowndes for the event including those celebrating Joan of Arc, the American Suffragist and abolitionist Lucy Stone and the Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind whose banner is being carried by her daughter, wearing a striking green and white outfit and a Tuscan hat.  The day following the event the Sunday Times wrote 'The new banners of the movement are wonderful. Many of the banners were designed to celebrate the memory of the great women of all ages, from Vashti, Boadicea and Joan of Arc down to Mrs Browning, George Eliot and Queen Victoria. It was an attempt to represent pictorially the Valhalla of womanhood…As the procession moved away it presented a vista made up of wonderful colours, and it reminded one somehow of a picturesquely clad mediaeval army, marching out with waving gonfalons to certain victory.’

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