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Militant Suffragists and Westminster Abbey

Shortly after the turn of the century a militant suffrage movement began to emerge in Britain under the leadership of Emmeline Pankhurst and her three daughters. Their organization was known as the Women's Social and Political Union. They became known for using unorthodox and sometimes violent methods of drawing attention to their cause, and their members were frequently arrested and imprisoned for their actions. During one of these actions in 1914, a small bomb was placed under the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey, London. It detonated and caused limited damage to the chair.

By 1914 the campaign for votes for women had become increasingly bitter with women being jailed and forcibly fed, and widespread arson and sabotage by militant suffragettes. According to Sylvia Pankhurst, "Railway stations, piers, sports pavilions, haystacks were set on fire ... A bomb exploded in Westminster Abbey ... one hundred and forty-one acts of destruction were chronicled in the Press during the first seven months of 1914". The Women's Social and Political Union was banned from holding meetings in Hyde Park.

- http://www.skysail.clara.net/hydepark.html

 
This page was created by Kira Kmetz FP in History 283, Fall Semester 2003 - kkmetz@mtholyoke.edu