On Saturday 17 April 1914 suffragettes planted a bomb on Yarmouth Pier resulting in its total destruction by fire. The attack took place in a context of a concerted bombing and arson campaign by the WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union) which started in response to the abandonment of the Franchise Bill in January 1913. Often violent and spectacular, attacks were numerous and included setting fire to residential houses, golf courses, schools, stations, theatres and even churches. The bombing of Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s house was part of this campaign.
What information does this newspaper report contain?
This photograph appeared in the Daily Telegraph the day after the bombing of the pier. The accompanying report describes an ‘epidemic of fires in London and various parts of the country’ on 17 April, including attacks on the Empire Theatre in Kingston-on-Thames, Columbia Market in Shoreditch and the destruction of a picture palace in Penzance.
The report also notes that following the fire on Yarmouth Pier, suffragette literature was found scattered on the ground. Among the literature was a postcard printed with the words, ‘McKenna has nearly killed Mrs. Pankhurst. We can show no mercy until women are enfranchised’. Emmeline Pankhurst was repeatedly arrested, imprisoned and released during 1913–14 under the provisions of the notorious ‘Cat and Mouse Act’. Justified by Home Secretary Reginald McKenna as an acceptable means of controlling hunger-striking prisoners, the persistent recapturing and forced incarceration of Emmeline Pankhurst had a detrimental effect on her health.
- Full title:
- 'Pavilion on Yarmouth Pier: destoyed by fire yesterday' in The Daily Telegraph
- 18 April 1914, London
- The Daily Telegraph
- Newspaper / Periodical / Photograph / Image
- © Telegraph Media Group Limited 1914
- Usage terms
© Telegraph Media Group Limited 1914
- Article by:
- Fern Riddell
Some suffragettes believed that deeds, not words, would convince the government to give women the vote. Fern Riddell assesses the scale of violent direct action used by militant suffragettes, with a focus on events from 1912 to 1914.
- Article by:
- British Library Learning
Who were the suffragists and suffragettes, and what are the key differences between them?