On the afternoon of May 21st 1914 the Suffragettes mounted their last great public demonstration in front of Buckingham Palace. Two and a half months later the world would go to war and the women would curtail their campaign for Votes for Women and throw their weight behind King and Country.
The May demonstration may have left us one of the most iconic images of the Suffragette campaign, that of diminutive Mrs Pankhurst being bundled away by Chief Inspector Rolfe while onlookers (male!) harangue her, but the truth was by 1914 the women’s campaign was running out of steam and becoming increasingly unpopular with the British public.
However, the Pankhursts’ genius had always been in devising effective public stunts and this one drew crowds numbered in thousands. The aim was to draw attention to the unequal treatment afforded militant Ulster men whose threat of armed revolt against Irish Home Rule had earned them an audience with the King at the Palace, while the Suffragettes’ appeal for similar access had been denied.
This Blue Badge World War One Walking Tour commemorates the last time the women took to the streets in formal protest and involves a tour through Whitehall and the green acres of St James Park. A tribute to the first political movement to have a ‘look’ and to a celebrity political family who took an existing issue and shoved it further up the political agenda, by getting violent.