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Women’s votes: 100 years for Millicent Fawcett’s fabled brooch to emerge

PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 March 2020

Millicent Fawcett's brooch with with its coat of arms with green, red and white gems in women's National Union movement colour scheme. Picture: Fawcett Society

Millicent Fawcett's brooch with with its coat of arms with green, red and white gems in women's National Union movement colour scheme. Picture: Fawcett Society

Fawcett Society/Museum of London

A brooch that belonged to women’s suffrage champion Millicent Fawcett is going on permanent display for the first time after more than 100 years.

'Suffragists get ready for procession on June 13, 1908, by Milicent Fawcett's constitutional National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, aimed at convincing Liberal PM Asquith that there was mass support for women's votes. Picture: Museum of London, by Christina Broom'Suffragists get ready for procession on June 13, 1908, by Milicent Fawcett's constitutional National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, aimed at convincing Liberal PM Asquith that there was mass support for women's votes. Picture: Museum of London, by Christina Broom

She led a non-violent movement as a 'suffragist' for women's votes, rather than back the more militant suffragette campaign started in the East End by Sylvia Pankhurst's 'war HQ' in Bow that took the fight onto the streets.

Millicent's campaign, instead, went by the book using constitutional means to win the day in 1919.

Her symbolic gold enamel brooch, a gift from members of her National Union of Women Suffragette Societies, goes public on March 13 at the Museum of London on loan by the Fawcett Society.

Millicent Fawcett (1847-1929), National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies' president 1907-19, a leading 'suffragist' campaigning for political change and joining demonstrations, but was against 'suffragette' militant action. Picure: Museum of LondonMillicent Fawcett (1847-1929), National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies' president 1907-19, a leading 'suffragist' campaigning for political change and joining demonstrations, but was against 'suffragette' militant action. Picure: Museum of London

'It represents the peaceful protests that many women advocated at the time,' the museum's 'working history' curator Beverley Cook explained. 'The brooch symbolises the role played by those who fought through constitutional means without militant action.'

The piece includes gems in the white, red and green colour scheme of the women's union that she ran from 1907 to 1919 that helped get the first voting rights in 1918. The reverse has the message 'steadfastness and courage' from to a speech she made in 1913.

Millicent organised the first 'votes for women' petition at the age of 19 — but was too young legally to sign it herself!


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