WSPU Holloway Banner

The WSPU Holloway Banner. The WSPU Holloway Banner.

The WSPU Holloway Banner is an embroidered banner that bears the names of eighty suffragettes who were on hunger strike in Holloway Jail, London, in 1909-1910. The banner was made from a quilt designed by Ann Macbeth. It was donated to the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU; Scottish branch) in 1910. The banner is now in the Museum of London collection (acc. no. Z6092).

The banner consists of eighty pieces of white linen that are sewn together and bordered by bands in green and purple (the colours of the British suffragette movement). Each of the linen pieces was signed (whether the person who signed it was actually the bearer of that name is another matter) and then the signatures were embroidered in purple threads.

Along the top of the banner is embroidered the text: “Women’s Social and Political Union” in a (Scottish) Art Nouveau style. There are also the names of the suffragette leaders, namely, Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney. The original quilt was donated to the WSPU Scottish Exhibition and Bazaar of April 1910 that was held in Glasgow. The bazaar was held in order to raise funds for the suffragette campaign. The newspaper, Votes for Women, described the quilt as being a “A suffrage linen quilt, with a beautiful design in the colours by the well known artist, Anne Macbeth, and containing the embroidered names of hunger strikers, forms an interesting memento, and will be sold for £10.” It was apparently bought by one of the Scottish leaders of the WSPU, Mrs. Pethick Lwarence.

The banner was first used in the “From Prison to Citizenship” procession that was held in June 1910 in London. There are a number of other embroidered kerchiefs and cloths relating to the suffragette movement, including the Janie Terrero handkerchief (private collection), the Suffragette Handkerchief at The Priest House, and the Cissie Wilcox embroidery (Museum of London, acc. no. 50.82/1231).


  • CRAWFORD, Elizabeth (1999). The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928, London: University College London Press, esp. p. 358.
  • SMITH, Charles Saumarez (1990). The Building of Castle Howard, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, esp. p. 73.

Digital sources:

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 20 June 2016).

Museum of London online catalogue (retrieved 6 April 2016).


Last modified on Tuesday, 18 April 2017 19:53