Curious London Memorials – 4. The Suffragette Memorial

January 26, 2011

Tucked away in a corner of Christchurch Gardens, opposite New Scotland Yard in Victoria Street, St James, this memorial was only erected in 1970.

Designed to resemble an uncurling scroll, the bronzed glass fibre scroll – designed by Edwin Russell – was put there by the Suffragette Fellowship (a group which was founded in 1926 to commemorate the suffrage movement of the early 20th century) and dedicated to the “courage and perseverance of all those men and women who in the long struggle for votes for women, selflessly braved derision, opposition and ostracism, many enduring physical violence and suffering”.

The monument, which is located near Caxton Hall – a now-listed building opened as the Westminster Town Hall in 1883 and “historically associated with women’s suffrage meetings”, was unveiled by former campaigner and hunger-striker Lillian Lenton.

While we’re on the subject of women’s suffrage, we should also mention the memorial to the most prominent member of the early 20th century women’s suffrage movement, Emmeline Pankhurst (1857-1928). Located not far away in Victoria Tower Gardens, right under the shadow of Victoria Tower at the southern end of the Houses of Parliament, stands a 1930 statue of the suffrage leader, who was imprisoned for her stand.

The statue is accompanied by two bronze medallions – one commemorating Mrs Pankhurst’s daughter and suffragette, Dame Christabel Pankhurst (1880-1958), and the other showing the badge of the Women’s Social Political Union (WSPU).

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