The People’s History Museum (PHM) is calling on Manchester to get behind a campaign to bring a significant and rare suffragette banner back to the city.
The banner was created over 100 years ago at the height of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) campaign led by Emmeline Pankhurst. The museum is asking people to donate to a crowdfunding page that if successful will result in the banner receiving expert care from our conservation specialists and becoming part of PHM’s world-renowned collection, taking centre stage in the 2018 campaign marking the centenary of women getting the partial vote.
PHM has already secured grants from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures programme. It is now seeking to raise the final £5,000 to bring home Manchester’s suffragette banner.
Synonymous with the mass demonstrations organised by WSPU in the early 20th century, suffragette banners are one of the iconic aspects of these trailblazing campaigners, but today are very rare. Leading with the words ‘First in the Fight’ under the headline of ‘Manchester’ and with Emmeline Pankhurst’s name picked out, the banner has spent the last ten years in a Leeds charity shop. Its journey to Leeds took place in the 1930s when its then owner, Edna White, moved to the city and following her death it was donated to the charity shop.
Helen Antrobus, Programme & Events Officer at PHM, says, ‘This is a truly spectacular piece, beautifully crafted and powerfully representative of its time. It is also an important part of the nation’s social history and we hope to find out more about Edna White and her suffragette story as part of this project’s research. The banner’s life began in Manchester and we’d like to continue its life by sharing its story with our visitors who travel across the region, nation and world to join us on a march through time that narrates Britain’s struggle for democracy.’