A large bronze scroll can be found next to a small park in Victoria that commemorates those who fought for women’s suffrage in the UK.
Funded by the Suffragette Fellowship, it was unveiled on 14th July 1970, and the choice of a scroll is deliberate, as it forms the letter S, for Suffragette. The Suffragette Fellowship was founded in 1926 with the role of commemorating the women’s suffrage movement of 1904-1915, especially the militant campaigners.
At the unveiling the Labour politician Baroness Summerskill told the audience of the debt she felt towards the suffragettes, adding “I will not fail to try to make some contribution to the women’s cause”
At the unveiling ceremony were members of all sides of the political divide, along with the surviving veterans of the protest movement, and an honour guard of women police officers from Rochester Row and Cannon Row police stations.
It poured down with rain on the day though.
Westminster was chosen for the commemoration, in part as it’s the heart of political power, but also because the Westminster MP, J.S. Mill who started an early attempt for universal sufferage during the passing of the 1867 Reform Act which granted more voting rights to men, to replace “man” with “person” in the text.
Mounted on a stone plinth, the bronze scroll is inscribed with a message: “This tribute is erected by the Suffragette Fellowship to commemorate 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.”
There is also a badge on the front and back of the scroll – known as the Holloway brooch, as it was given to women who were imprisoned for their activism. There’s also a badge for the prison itself, on the back.
The memorial was designed by the husband and wife sculptors, Lorne McKean and Edwin Russell, and although it looks bronze, it’s actually fibreglass finished in cold cast bronze.