Hunger strikers came to Wimbledon to recuperate
A recording dating back to 1958 recounting the exploits of one of the suffragettes in breaking the windows of the Guards Club in Pall Mall more than 100 years ago has just been discovered.
Winifred Mayo who is standing on the left of the photograph above, wearing a stole recounts in the BBC interview how she was imprisoned after smashing the windows of the club in November 1911.
Winifred had founded the Actresses’ Franchise League (AFL) in 1908, which included a number of famous names - including Ellen Terry, Sybil Thorndike and Lilly Langtry.
The AFL advised fellow suffragettes in make-up and dressing-up “which enabled many women ‘on the run’ from the police to successfully disguise themselves and elude recapture.”
You can hear the interview which lasts for just under 5 minutes by clicking here:
The photograph is on display (when open) in the “Suffragette Room” at William Morris House, 267 The Broadway in Wimbledon. The room was opened by Yolande Yates the granddaughter of Rose Lamartine Yates, the leader of the Wimbledon WSPU.
Yolande provided the picture, which shows a presentation of flowers to three hunger strikers at Dorset Hall (152 Kingston Rd, Wimbledon) dated 1912.
Unsurprisingly the hunger strikers appear from the picture to be fairly gaunt. They were recuperating at Dorset Hall, and are shown with the flowers presented to them.
Two hunger strikers are seated and one is lying in the hammock. From left to right, the seated hunger striker is Edith Marion Begbie, a local suffragette who lived at 107 The Ridgeway in Wimbledon. She had been previously imprisoned for breaking the windows of the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill in 1910.
Behind Mrs Begbie, wearing a stole is the actress and suffragette, Winnifred Mayo and standing between her and the hammock is Georgie Brackenbury.
Winifred joined the Kensington branch of the WSPU in 1907. Soon afterwards she was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment for taking part in a demonstration outside the House of Commons.
Both Mrs Begbie and Mrs Brackenbury were regular speakers at Suffragette rallies on Wimbledon Common.
In the hammock is another hunger striker, Mrs Wilkinson and on the right of the photo is the third hunger striker, Miss Florence McFarlane. Standing behind Florence McFarlane is Rose, while on the far right is her husband Tom, while their son Paul is kneeling at the front.
March 27, 2020