Suffragette memorabilia displayed in new exhibition in Leicester

By Alice Warner

Looking at the stories of people who fought for women’s suffrage, the new exhibition at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery includes family heirlooms from the Hawkins family.

The exhibition runs from Saturday, October 27, to February 24, and will include the hunger strike medal given to Alice Hawkins, family mementoes of Emmeline Pankhurst who led the Suffragette Movement and clothes worn by schoolteacher Susanne Potter when she was chained to the railings before being taken to Holloway Prison.

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The new exhibition includes family heirlooms from the women who fought for women’s suffrage.

Peter Barratt, great-grandson of Alice Hawkins, notable Leicester Suffragette said: “The exhibition will celebrate the local suffragette movement and their contribution to the vibrant and hard-fought campaign for women’s rights over 100 years ago.

“Original suffragette memorabilia that once belonged to Alice will be on display, including her sash, hunger strike medal and more.

“My involvement will be to meet, on designated days, visiting schools and the public and give a guided tour around the exhibition.”

Leicester is one of seven cities in the Centenary Cities project marking 100 years of votes for women funded by the Government Equalities Office.

The exhibition items have been passed down through the family generations and were loaned to Parliament for its major centenary year exhibition, ‘Voice and Vote’, and is accepted to be one of the most complete collections of suffragette memorabilia in the UK today.

Together with the statue of Alice that was unveiled last February in the Leicester marketplace, 2018 has been a year of both celebration and commemoration of her campaigning work and of many women like her.

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The exhibition is interactive with screens of information and places to leave comments about the exhibition and your thoughts on women’s suffrage. 

Mr Barratt, said: “I think in special years such as this it is a time to recognise the campaigning work of the like of Alice Hawkins.

“Many people think of the suffragettes as fairly well to do middle-class ladies with time on their hands. Alice is an icon of the working-class faction of the movement, working long hours in the factories of the day, yet standing up for what they believed in.

“Regular exhibitions such as this are great learning aids for young people, educating them in the basic values of democracy and equality.”

The New Walk Museum and Art Gallery is located at 53 New Walk, Leicester, and will be open from 11am until 5pm seven days a week.

To find out more about the exhibition click here.

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