"Panko" Playing Cards

We have six original playing cards from the "Panko" Card Game in our Women's Suffrage Collection.

The game consisted of 48 playing cards which are based on the battle between pro- and anti-suffrage campaigners.They have a purple and white design on one side and on the reverse, there are cartoons by E.T. Reed of Punch magazine. The cards were produced in 1909 and published by Peter Gurney.

The game was advertised and distributed by the Women's Social and Political Union as well as private sellers. Playing cards were a very popular fundraising and outreach tool during the suffrage campaign. It was marketed as a gift (for 2 shillings) with the caption:

“Not only is each picture itself an interesting memento, but the game produces intense excitement without the slightest taint of bitterness.”

The rules state that all players should be split into Suffragists and the Anti-Suffragists. The illustrations show figures on both sides of the debate, including Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst leading the campaign, a judge sentencing a suffragette to 14 days in jail, a policeman arresting a suffragette and a card showing the suffragette refusing a meal in Holloway, amongst many other examples.

Anti-Suffrage Postcard

We have this original anti-suffrage postcard in our Women's Suffrage Collection.

In 1908 the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League was founded, and over the next ten years it opened more than one hundred branches. It was opposed to women being granted the vote in British parliamentary elections.

It later merged with the Men’s League for Opposing Women’s Suffrage.

This postcard is typical of some of the images from their campaigns. They frequently focused on the idea that women should be attending to domestic and child-rearing roles, and often depicted worn-out and fed up men attempting to carry domestic chores.

They also often suggested that women were incapable of also possessing political knowledge or being able to manage voting alongside running a home. Often the images show suffrage campaigners as bitter, unmarried and unattractive.

Edwardian Ladies Black Silk Hat

We have an Edwardian Ladies Black Silk Hat with ostrich feathers in our Women's Suffrage Collection.

The Edwardian era is often remembered by hats stacked with feathers, bows, and flowers. Sometimes these hats were very large. These were called Gainsborough or Picture hats for how they framed ladies' faces. The popularity of large feathers and stuffed birds on the hats caused concern for the welfare and population of birds. The largest plumes came from ostriches who were farm raised and their feathers collected as they fell naturally.

These hats can be seen in the many photographs as well as pro- and anti-suffrage propaganda for the women's suffrage movement. In the 1917 parliamentary records, Ludlow MP Rowland Hunt is recorded as having said: "There are obvious disadvantages about having women in Parliament. I do not know what is going to be done about their hats. How is a poor little man to get on with a couple of women wearing enormous hats in front of him?"


Suffrage Society Meeting Poster and Membership Card

We have a poster and membership card for an East Herts Women's Suffrage Society meeting in our Women's Suffrage Collection.

The poster advertised the fourth annual meeting for the Society, stating its date as October Wednesday 27th at 3.30pm at St Andrew's House, Hertford. It then lists a brief agenda for the meeting, including a presidential address, adoption of the annual report and accounts, elections of various roles, and a speech.

It ends with the slogan: "WOMEN AS CITIZENS IN WAR & PEACE".

The membership card states: "Law-abiding Suffragists" at the top, distinguishing the group from the militant WSPU campaigns. The print then reads: "I am a friend of Women's Suffrage", followed by a signature of "Ursula Barclay".

The suffragists' main activities included meetings, letter-writing, marches and posters, and there were branches across Britain which organised local women and men to take part in these activities.

Anti-Suffrage Decorated Drinking Flask

We have an anti-suffrage decorated pewter drinking flask in our Women's Suffrage Collection.

It dates to between 1910 and 1914, and is decorated on its lid with the words "IT'S AN ABOMINATION TO ALL MEN".

On the main body of the flask is a caricature image of a suffragette with the words "I DEMAND THE VOTE!" coming from her mouth. This sort of cartoon is typical of anti-suffrage propaganda at the time, which frequently featured exaggerated drawings of suffrage campaigners. These drawings implied or sometimes made explicit the idea that women who were suffrage campaigners were doing so because they were too unattractive to get married, and were therefore bitter at men.

The idea that women having the right to vote would be an abomination to men was often derived from religious or other notions of particular roles ordained for men and women.

Suffragette Defaced 1897 Penny

We have a defaced 1897 Queen Victoria penny in our Women's Suffrage Collection.

The words "VOTES FOR WOMEN" have been stamped over the head of the queen.

It was thought that the suffragettes had copied the practice from anarchists, who had defaced coins with the phrase ‘Vive l’Anarchie’. It is not known how many coins were defaced - there are several examples in museums and private collections, but the effort required to deface a single coin means it is unlikely that many were made. It would have been very time-consuming to make, and rendered the coins very difficult to use in shops, as people would have been very wary about accepting them.

Almost all the coins with the suffragette countermarks are defaced on the head side, with the words printed across the face of the king or queen.

"Suffragette" Newspaper: May 2nd, 1913

We have an edition of The Suffragette newspaper in our Women's Suffrage Collection.

The edition is dated Friday 2nd May, 1913. It was the official publication of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), a militant organisation of women which advocated civil disobedience in order to promote their campaign for women's votes. Initially, the circulation of the newspaper was about 17,000. The Home Office tried to suppress the newspaper, and on 2nd May 1913 Sidney Granville Drew, the managing director of Victoria House Printing Company which printed the newspaper, was arrested.

 WSPU's co-founder Christabel Pankhurst fled to France to avoid arrest and suffragette Annie Kenney was put in charge of the WSPU in London, including the publication of The Suffragette. Kenney arranged for it to be printed in Glasgow. The police strove to suppress the newspaper, which reduced circulation to 10,000 a week.