Suffragette Postcards



The Suffragette seller


Dear “Duchess”, I am sending you a p.c. at last, which I hope you will like. I expect you received my letter last night. Please answer it quickly as I want something to read. Love from “Charlie”


Miss J. Meyer, The Retreat, 41 Wenham Drive, Westcliff-on-Sea



London, October 16th 1913



According to Crawford, the Rotary Photo Company issued at least three ‘London Life’ suffrage postcards, two of women selling The Suffragette (in one of these the woman is in a horse-drawn cart) and the third of a woman being arrested (identified as Mary Phillips).

The woman in the image is wearing a ‘Holloway brooch’, a ‘brooch of honour’ designed by Sylvia Pankhurst for women who had been imprisoned in Holloway Prison. The brooch shows “a portcullis symbol of the House of commons, the gate and hanging chains in silver and the superimposed broad arrow in purple, white and green enamel“ (Crawford). According to the Museum of London it was first awarded to ex-prisoners at a demonstration at the Albert Hall on 29th April 1909.

The newsletter ‘The Suffragette’ was published by the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). It replaced the earlier ‘Votes for Women’ newsletter in 1912 when the WSPU became more militant.

The issue which is on display in the photograph may concern an important letter by written by James Barr to the Prison Commissioners (right) in which he describes the force-feeding of Rose Howey in Walton Prison, Liverpool in January 1910. Prior to this letter the official position on force-feeding was that it was done in order to save lives however Barr’s letter makes it clear that Howey was not at risk when she was force-fed.

About the card



The Suffragette

Edited by Christabel Pankhurst

No. 2, October 25, 1912. Price 1d.

An Anti-shock by James Barr.


10513-10 London Life. “Votes for Women.” Rotary Photo, E.C.

Liverpool January 29th 1910
The Prison Commissioners

I have the honour to report that today I saw and examined Rose E.N. Howey at H.M.Prison Walton, in consultation with Dr Price. I also took part in the artificial feeding by tube.
Rose E.N. Howey is about 25years of age; a spare, fair complexioned woman but highly neurotic. She was sentenced on January 15th to six weeks imprisonment. From the records I find that on committal she weighted 114lbs and today she weighs 108lbs. Her height is 5ft 5in. Her lungs and heart are quite healthy; respiration quiet; pulse 72 regular, blood circulations active. Tongue clean, teeth good, no swelling of stomach, bowels regular; menstrual periods regular; knee jerks excessive. Her throat is rather small and slightly granular but not inflamed. She evidently had in childhood post-natal adenoids, but her nostrils are now quite free. On passing the tube there was slight spasm at the upper end of the throat 5 to 6 inches from the teeth; this no doubt increases the discomfort of the passage of the tube, but it can be easily got over by using a fine moderately stiff tube. Personally I would be inclined to leave her without food for two or three days and by that time the spasms will have passed off.
Any ordinary individual can survive with only water for a couple of weeks and there is no damage to life in a healthy individual from any loss of body weight up to 25 per cent, including the weight of the clothing. This woman can afford to lose 23lb without any risk.

Letter from James Barr

The Holloway brooch, photo from the Museum of London