The arrest of a suffragette Amazon?

Riot

Does this rare photograph taken at a suffragette rally show the arrest of one of Mrs. Pankhurst’s bodyguards?

It appears that the police constable is holding a pair of wooden Indian clubs in his right hand as he moves towards the woman who is turned away from the camera.  Alternatively, the woman may be holding the clubs in her left hand as the constable twists her left arm behind her back, with his right hand covering her left hand.

Indian clubs were designed and sold as exercise tools but they became the signature weapons of the Amazon guards, who sometimes carried them concealed underneath their dresses.  A large number of Indian clubs were confiscated from suffragette bodyguards after the infamous “Battle of Glasgow” brawl in 1914.

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3 comments

  1. Hi there,

    Have been searching through your website and am really enjoying your work on the Suffragettes. I never realised Edith Garrud had such a prominent role before!

    Quick question about where you found this photograph? I’ve been searching for primary sources on the Suffragettes with Indian Clubs as part of a thesis on Indian Clubs in England and this is the first time I’ve come across this magnificent picture!

    • JL33 says:

      The picture is a screen capture of a photograph shown in episode three of the BBC documentary series “Suffragettes Forever!” It’s actually a detail from a larger picture – in the documentary edit, we pan from a shot of a mounted police constable down to the image of the constable apparently wrestling with the suffragette.

      Presumably the documentary director or researcher would have more information on the photograph’s provenance.

      We have an archive of historical newspaper references to members of the suffragette Bodyguard team using Indian clubs as weapons.

      • Perfect thanks so much for getting back in touch! That’s absolutely fascinating, I’ll have to look up the documentary. I’ve had a wee look round the site and am blown away by the details you’ve amassed. The Weapons of the Suffragettes being one of particular interest. Will have to get your Book for my girlfriend who’s even more interested in this than me!

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