Call For AELTC To Acknowledge The Wimbledon Suffragettes

Labour campaigner believes they appropriated the famous colours in 1909

Labour campaigner Peter Walker has written to Richard Lewis, Chief Executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), asking him to acknowledge that the Wimbledon Tennis Championship has appropriated for over 100 years the colours of the suffragettes. His letter is below:

“For a number of years I have pursued an interest in the history of Wimbledon’s suffragettes. 

“As you will know this year we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of women being given the vote.  The role that the Wimbledon suffragettes played in that campaign was significant.

WSPU banner“You will of course be aware that in 1909 Wimbledon tennis adopted purple white and green as their new colours. Colours which at that time were nationally recognised to be those used by the Women’s Social & Political Union (WPSU). or suffragettes as they became known.

“On your own website you state: 'The decision as to why dark green and purple were chosen is not stated in the Club's records.'

“The purpose of this letter is to request that you to publish the records for the decision made by your predecessors in choosing these colours. I believe your organisation appropriated them in 1909 without acknowledging the fact.

“I attach a short note which questions why for over a century you have been using these unique colours without attributing them to the suffragette movement. At the time you chose these colours your predecessors would have been very aware of the adoption of these colours by the WSPU nationally and particularly here in Wimbledon.  

"As you also will be aware AELTC have been quick to threaten legal action to any local businesses using these colours. Yet it seems very likely that you and your predecessors consciously copied the colours of the suffragettes without any permission or acknowledgement. While it is too late for the suffragettes to challenge you over the use of their colours, I do think it is beholden on you to prove on this 100th anniversary that my belief is wrong.

“Unless you have conclusive proof that you did not copy the suffragette colours over 100 years ago I would suggest that you make a significant gesture to acknowledge your debt to the suffragettes.

"Yours sincerely, Peter Walker, Caroline Road, Wimbledon."

  • The Wimbledon branch of the WSPU was founded in 1908. As well as organising lectures and fundraising initiatives, the branch staged regular meetings on Wimbledon Common. These meetings attracted crowds of up to 5,000.

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June 28, 2018

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WSPU jewellery

The colours purple for dignity, white for purity and green for hope were used by the WSPU. A range of items, including jewellery, was produced

Wimbledon tennis sign