'Women's Sunday' : Hyde Park Rally 21st June 1908

Women's Sunday, Hyde Park

Source: Museum of London

The demonstration that came to be known as 'Women's Sunday' was the first grand-scale meeting to be organised by the Women's Social and Political Union and saw the largest number of people gathered in Hyde Park for a political purpose. Trains were specially chartered to bring in thousands of suffragettes from all over Britain. Amongst the brass bands, suffrage singers, and banner parades, were 20 temporary platforms erected in a circle around the park for 80 speakers to address the crowds. Demonstrators from Tunbridge Wells attended the rally; one party travelled on a special train service from Tunbridge Wells station to Victoria and another by car. The Tunbridge Wells party arrived at Victoria Embankment to find: 'crowds of men and women already collecting: women in white dresses with scarfs, belts, and hats in the tri-colours were unfurling the banners and placing them in position'. The Kent and Sussex Courier reported the eye-witness account of one of the Tunbridge Wells party in its 5th July edition. "Artificial Flowers in the Union colours, programmes of the seven processions and of the speeches, pocket handkerchiefs with maps of the park and positions of the platforms, and “Votes for Women” badges, brooches, etc., were beingeagerly sold to the processionists and to the crowd.

'Women's Sunday' ticket source: Museum of London

The report continued: "Mrs Pethick Lawrence, and Mr and Mrs Isaac Zangwill , the leaders of the procession, continuously passed up and down, reviewing and arranging their followers; and Mrs Drummond, known as “General Drummond” who was previewing all the seven processions , came to visit us before we started.  She wore her new general’s cap and gold epaulettes. All along the route, as we marched to the music of our hands we had crowds to watch us, lining the roads, standing at the doors, and leaning out of the windows. We were cheered at times, but heard very few unfavourable or jeering remarks.

“Working Women demand the Vote.”

Outside the park gates a huge crowd were waiting and many joined in the procession, the police keeping admirable order."

 

Programme for 'Women's Sunday'.

source: Museum of London

Click to enlarge

 

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