Historic Royal Palaces brings to life stories of suffrage

31 January 2018

31 January 2018

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, Historic Royal Palaces reveals stories of suffrage with Votes and Voices: Acts of Defiance, a season of special programming. Events at the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and Banqueting House will bring together live interpretation, workshops and expert talks that explore key moments in the fight for female suffrage.

On 1 February, 1913, the Tower of London played host to an important chapter in the history of the suffragette movement. Using an iron bar hidden beneath her coat, Leonora Cohen boldly smashed a display case containing items of the Crown Jewels in the Tower’s Jewel House. Wrapped around the bar was a message that read, “Jewel House, Tower of London. My Protest to the Government for its refusal to Enfranchise Women, but continues to torture women prisoners – Deeds Not Words. Leonora Cohen”. This May, the Tower of London will be holding a special evening event exploring the story of Leonora Cohen and her bold protest for votes for women at the historic landmark. The famous fortress will also be marking women's suffrage with Feminist Fête - a day of workshops, crafts, stalls and cake, inspired by the Women's Social and Political Union's (WSPU) Women's Exhibition 1909 while drawing on the Tower's connection to the fight for equality.

Hampton Court Palace also has its own stories to tell, in the form of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, a former resident. Daughter of the last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire in the Punjab and a goddaughter of Queen Victoria, Duleep Singh became president of the Committee of the Suffragette Fellowship following the death of Emmeline Pankhurst. As part of her very public campaigning, she was known to sell a popular suffragette magazine to visitors and locals alike outside of the palace gates. To celebrate this little-known aspect of the palace’s history, until the middle of February daily live performances will transport visitors back to 1914, showcasing how the threat of militant suffragettes impacted Hampton Court, and the stringent new restrictions imposed to protect both the building and its priceless collections. On 3July, Anita Anand - broadcaster and author of Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary - will host an evening talk at the palace discussing Sophia Duleep Singh and her fight for female suffrage. There will also be an ‘Adult Storytelling’ event on 1 July, offering participants the opportunity to debate issues of inequality, from history right up to the present day, over tea and a piece of cake.

Other activities across the palaces include an International Women’s Day event at Kensington Palace on 8 March, with pop-up talks in Queen Victoria’s childhood bedroom. The event will be a chance to discover more about some of the fascinating women who have called Kensington Palace home, and how they helped to shape the society in which they lived. Meanwhile Banqueting House, Whitehall, will deliver a live satirical performance from the alt-cabaret world inspired by the outrageous propaganda of the anti-suffragette movement in the lead up to the 1918 Representation of the People Act.

For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk/votesandvoices

 

Events

 

The palace under attack

8 January – 9 February

Hampton Court Palace

Be transported back to 1914 at Hampton Court this winter, and discover how the threat of attack by militant suffragettes impacted the palace. This themed live tour, running daily, will bring the story of the suffragette movement to life.

Included in palace admission

 

International Women’s Day

8 March

Kensington Palace

Discover more about some of the fascinating women who have called Kensington Palace home, and how they helped to shape the society in which they lived, with pop-up talks, tea and cake.

Included in palace admission

 

100 Banners, Leonora Cohen – The Tower Suffragette Workshop

10 March

Tower of London

Uncover the story of Tower Suffragette Leonora Cohen in a banner making workshop led by artist Becci Kenning. Drawing on themes of protest, franchise, rights and voices this creative workshop is inspired by the suffrage banner collection at the Women’s Library.

Free (advanced online registration required)

 

Feminist Fête

13 May

Tower of London

Discover more about the Tower of London's connection to the fight for female equality through a series of activities including workshops, crafts, stalls and cake, inspired by the Women's Social and Political Union's (WSPU) Women's Exhibition 1909.

Tickets: £10

 

Leonora Cohen – The Tower Suffragette with Nicola Pullen

15 May

Tower of London

Explore the story of Leonora Cohen and her fight for female suffrage at the Tower of London in this compelling evening talk led by Nicola Pullen, Assistant Curator of Leeds Museums and Galleries.

Tickets: £15 non-members/£13.50 members

 

Disruptive WomenCabaret Evening

18 May

Banqueting House

Banqueting House, Whitehall, hosts an evening of alt-Cabaret inspired by the outrageous propaganda of the anti-suffragette movement in the lead up to the 1918 Representation of the People Act. Drawing on themes of censorship and misinformation, watch this satirical live performance under the magnificent ceiling painted by Sir Peter Paul Rubens.

Tickets: £15

 

Adult storytelling (Equali-teas)

1 July

Hampton Court Palace

Discover more about Princess Sophia Singh, the rebel royal and Hampton Court Palace suffragette, with adult storyteller Debbie Guneratne.

Tickets: £10

 

The Suffragette Princess with Anita Anand

3 July

Hampton Court Palace

Join radio and TV presenter Anita Anand for an evening lecture on former grace-and-favour resident of Hampton Court Palace, Sophia Duleep Singh. Duleep Singh became president of the Committee of the Suffragette Fellowship after the death of Emmeline Pankhurst, and was known to campaign actively outside the palace.

Tickets: £15 non-members/£13.50 members

 

Notes to Editors

For further information and images please contact the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office on 020 3166 6166 or email press@hrp.org.uk

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk