Emmeline Pankhurst is shown in this photograph, flanked by police officers, during the WSPU’s (Women’s Social and Political Union) militant campaign for women’s suffrage. Her first arrest was in February 1908, when she led a deputation to the Houses of Commons and was subsequently arrested for obstruction. Her activism and agitation for suffrage led to numerous arrests between 1908 and 1914.
However, whilst the WSPU is known for its militant campaigning, Emmeline’s non-militant role as a speaker at women’s suffrage rallies should not be forgotten. At the outbreak of World War One, Emmeline advocated for the suspension of militant activities, later declaring the support of the WSPU for the government during this period.
Emmeline died in 1928, the same year that all women over the age of 21 were enfranchised as part of the second Representation of the People Act. Her lifetime’s work in the campaign was commemorated two years later, when Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin unveiled a statue of her close to the Houses of Parliament.