A gift from a friend

A gift from a friend

Such a simple object with such poignant connotations. At the beginning of the 20th century those denied the right to vote or take part in political life in Britain were  the inmates of prisons, asylums for the insane – and women. In 1912 Suffragette Constance Collier was imprisoned for breaking the windows of John Lewis department store in London in support of the Suffragette cause. Whilst in prison she went on hunger strike and was awarded a Suffragette Holloway brooch for her bravery. I purchased that brooch and sold it some years ago and with it came this – Constance’s prison eating implement. Such a crude little implement embossed with her prison wing and cell number. Ms Collier scratched the following message on it :

Votes for women.
Congraulations to M Hobhouse
Constance Collier

[Emily Hobhouse was a Suffragist].

Imagine the cruel irony of giving suffragettes such eating implements, when their intention whilst in prison was to go on hunger strike to be recognised as political prisoners. As a result they were horribly forcibly fed and many faced years of ill health as a result. Now it’s come back to me, thank you Cathy.

NFS – just to share the story