Monday, October 17, 2016

One hundred workers are wanted!

You will soon be seeing our beautiful poster (designed by Swindon Heritage editor Graham Carter) round town, advertising the Women's Exhibition and Craft Sale on November 12.

And in March 1909 members of the WSPU were busy organising their Women's Exhibition too.

‘Just before her arrest and imprisonment for taking part in the deputation to the Prime Minister on February 24, Mrs Pethick Lawrence was at work on a beautiful piece of embroidery in the colours intended for the Woman’s Exhibition. And Mrs Pankhurst, having a long railway journey before her between two meetings, considered what she could do for the Exhibition, and, following Mrs Lawrence’s example, also plied her needle at embroidery.

With the leaders of the movement thus filling in every spare moment in working for the cause they have so much at heart, it is not surprising that the rank and file follow suit. And at the present moment, with one of its leaders and many brave comrades in prison, and, in consequence, addition responsibilities on their shoulders, members of the National Women’s Social and Political Union are once more responding nobly to the call of duty.’

Among the attractions planned for the 1909 Woman’s Exhibition was a pageant, but this was to be no ordinary pageant.

‘The WSPU pageant, however, will be something almost unique in the annals even of pageants. It will be on a miniature sale – in reality, a doll’s pageant, the nearest approach to it being the Doll’s Pageant held at Westminster some months ago. The WSPU Doll’s Pageant, however, will be of more educational value, for there will be represented, in addition to women famous in history, some of the political and industrial problems of the day, and – statistics! How apparently cold facts will be represented by dolls, we will not divulge at the moment; we will confine ourselves to making the strongest possible appeal to women of an artistic turn of mind (artists, art students) to send in their names at once to the Exhibition Secretary, 4 Clements Inn, and let her set them to work. Modellers are wanted; dolls’ dressmakers are wanted; artists are wanted to take charge of groups of models; and others to design and make scenery and properties, and to do miniature carpentering. The time is short – if you can give the help indicated above, write by return of post. One hundred workers are wanted!’

Edith's prowess with the needle, both sewing and knitting, is well documented.

The Museum of London hold a pair of miniature stockings Edith knitted from unravelling yarn from her prison uniform and her embroidered signature can be seen on a banner first carried in the 'From Prison to Citizenship' procession in June 1910.

And Elizabeth Crawford has even featured Edith in a blogpost she wrote on May 2, 2013.

Miniature stockings knitted by Edith New - Museum of London

'From Prison to Citizenship - Museum of  London

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