Suffragette & WSPU August 28, 2016

From 1908, the WSPU adopted the colour scheme of violet, white and green: purple symbolised dignity, white purity, and green hope. These three colours were used for banners, flags, rosettes and badges, They also would carry heart shaped vesta cases, and appeared in newspaper cartoons and postcards.

Mappin & Webb, the London jewellers, issued a catalogue of suffragette jewellery for Christmas 1908.

In 1909 the WSPU presented specially commissioned pieces of jewellery to leading suffragettes Emmeline Pankhurst and Louise Eates. Some Arts and Crafts jewellery of the period incorporated the colours violet, white and green using enamel and semi-precious stones such as amethysts, pearls, and peridots. However jewellery that incorporated these stones was already quite common in women’s jewellery during the late 19th century, before 1903 and could not be connected with the suffragettes, before the WSPU adopted the colours. Also, it is a popular myth that the colours were green, white, and violet, to spell GWV as an acronym for “Give Women Votes”.

The colours of green and heliotrope (purple) were commissioned into a new coat of arms for Edge Hill University in 2006, symbolising the University’s early commitment to the equality of women through its beginnings as a women-only college.

Suffragette

 

The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was the leading militant organisation campaigning for Women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom, 1903–1917. Its membership and policies were tightly controlled by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia (although Sylvia broke away). It was best known for hunger strikes (and forced feeding), for breaking windows in prominent buildings, and for night-time arson of unoccupied houses and churches.

Women’s Social and Political Union

 

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