The East London Federation of Suffragettes, led by Sylvia Pankhurst, were active in East London during 1914 to 1923, campaigning for universal suffrage and worker’s rights. Sylvia Pankhurst studied at the Royal College of Art and used her creative skills to design banners and flags for the ELFS protests and marches to Westminster. When Sylvia first arrived in Bow in 1912, she took over a shop in Bow Road, close to Bow Church and hand painted ‘Votes For Women’ in gold letters at the front of the shop.
The replica of the gold letters can be seen pride of place at the ‘Women’s Hall’ that has been recreated at the Tower Hamlets Local History and Archives to tell the story of the East London Federation of Suffragettes (see photo above)
One of the panels on display describes how badges in the ELFS colours – Red, White, Purple and Green – were awarded to members who had sold more than 1000 copies of their newspaper, the Women’s Dreadnought.
In spirit of the East London Federation of Suffragettes, I am leading a workshop at the Women’s Hall on Thursday 28 June in the evening. Come along and make a posy from upcycled fabrics in the ELFS colours. The workshop and all materials are free and no experience is necessary. There will be time to view the exhibition during the event.
If your sewing skills are pretty nifty, why not have a go at embroidering some banners with political messages like the ones I made for the launch of the exhibition (photo above). I chose to stitch the campaigns the ELFS were fighting for 100 years ago that are still relevant today. Copy one of mine or chose your own and become a Craftivist.
28 June 2018, 6:00 to 8pm – FACEBOOK INVITE HERE
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archive, 277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ. Closest tubes are Stepney Green and Mile End. Bus 25 or 205.
The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, open late on Thursday until 8pm. Open first and third Saturdays of the month.