Margery Corbett Ashby
Dame Margery Irene Corbett Ashby, was a British suffragist, Liberal politician and internationalist. She was born at Danehill, East Sussex, the daughter of Charles Corbett, a barrister, Liberal MP for East Grinstead and Marie Corbett, herself a Liberal feminist and local councillor in Uckfield. Margery was educated at home, her German governess was the feminist polymath Lina Eckenstein. Eckenstein was to assisted with her work, she passed the Classics tripos as a student at Cambridge. She married lawyer Brian Ashby in 1910, their only child, a son, Michael Ashby, was a neurologist who gave evidence as an expert witness at the 1957 trial of suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams. With her sister Cicely and friends, she founded the Younger Suffragists in 1901. After deciding against teaching, she was appointed Secretary of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies in 1907, she served as President of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance from 1923 to 1946. She received an honorary LLD at Mount Holyoke College, USA, in 1937 in recognition of her international work.
In 1942 she went on a government propaganda mission to Sweden. Ashby was one of the seventeen women candidates to contest a parliamentary election at the first opportunity in the General Election of 1918, she stood for Birmingham Ladywood against Neville Chamberlain the Unionist Coalition candidate. Her slogan was'A soldier's wife for Ladywood'. Although she came third behind Chamberlain and the Labour candidate J. W. Kneeshaw, she forced Chamberlain to address women's issues during his campaign, one of the few candidates who tried, her papers at the Women's Library at the LSE in London contain a selection of her affectionate letters to her husband, still in France for the early stages of the campaign. Chamberlain kept his sisters up to date with the campaign and his letters are preserved in the Cadbury Research Library at the University of Birmingham. Together they provide a unique record of the candidates' contrasting view of the election campaign. In 1922 and 1923 she contested Richmond, Surrey, 1924 Watford, 1929 Hendon, 1935 and 1937 Hemel Hempstead.
She stood as an independent liberal with the backing of Radical Action at the Bury St Edmunds by-election, 1944. The archives of Margery Corbett Ashby are held at The Women's Library at the London School of Economics, her name and picture are on the plinth of the statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, unveiled in 2018. Biodata Oxford DNB Biodata
James Lowther, 1st Viscount Ullswater
James William Lowther, 1st Viscount Ullswater, was a British Conservative politician. He served as Speaker of the House of Commons between 1905 and 1921; the son of Hon. William Lowther, a grandson of William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale and for 25 years Member of Parliament for Westmorland, Alice, 3rd daughter of James Parke, 1st Baron Wensleydale, Lowther was educated at Eton College, King's College London where he took an Associateship degree, at Trinity College, where he studied classics and law. Lowther became a barrister in 1879 becoming a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 1906, he was Member of Parliament for Rutland in 1883. He was appointed 4th Charity Commissioner in 1887, held junior ministerial office as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1891–1892, he was Chairman of Ways and Means and Deputy Speaker from 1895–1905 and Speaker of the House of Commons from 1905–1921. There are three golden rules for Parliamentary speakers: Stand up. Speak up. Shut up. Lowther represented Great Britain at the International Conference at Venice in 1892, at the International Conference on Emigration at Rome in 1924.
He was Chairman of the Speakers' Electoral Reform Conference in 1916–1917, of the Buckingham Palace Conference in 1914, of the Boundary Commissions in 1917, of the Royal Commission on Proportional Representation in 1918, Devolution Conference in 1919, of the Royal Commission on London Government, 1921–1922. He was a Trustee of the British Museum from 1922–1931 and a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery from 1925. In 1907 his portrait was painted by Philip de Laszlo, he was appointed to the Privy Council in 1898, created 1st Viscount Ullswater, of Campsea Ashe, in the County of Suffolk, on his retirement as Speaker in 1921, appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in July 1921. He held the degrees of DCL from the University of Oxford, LL. D from the University of Cambridge and DCL from the University of Leeds. 1855–1883: Mr James William Lowther 1883–1885: Mr James William Lowther MP 1885–1886: Mr James William Lowther 1886–1898: Mr James William Lowther MP 1898–1921: The Rt Hon James William Lowther MP 1921–1949: The Rt Hon The Viscount Ullswater GCB PC On 1 March 1886, Lowther married Mary Frances Beresford-Hope.
They had three children: Major Christopher William Lowther. He was succeeded to the viscountcy by his great-grandson. Arthur James Beresford Lowther Mildred Lowther Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by James Lowther Portraits of James William Lowther, 1st Viscount Ullswater at the National Portrait Gallery, London Campsea Ashe garden Electoral Reform Conference, 1917 Proportional Representation Conference, 1918 Devolution Conference, 1919
John Rylands Library
The John Rylands Library is a late-Victorian neo-Gothic building on Deansgate in Manchester, England. The library, which opened to the public in 1900, was founded by Enriqueta Augustina Rylands in memory of her husband, John Rylands; the John Rylands Library and the library of the University of Manchester merged in July 1972 into the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. Special collections built up by both libraries were progressively concentrated in the Deansgate building; the special collections, believed to be among the largest in the United Kingdom, include medieval illuminated manuscripts and examples of early European printing, including a Gutenberg Bible, the second largest collection of printing by William Caxton, the most extensive collection of the editions of the Aldine Press of Venice. The Rylands Library Papyrus P52 has a claim to be the earliest extant New Testament text; the library holds personal papers and letters of notable figures, among them Elizabeth Gaskell and John Dalton.
The architectural style is neo-Gothic with elements of Arts and Crafts Movement in the ornate and imposing gatehouse facing Deansgate which dominates the surrounding streetscape. The library, granted Grade I listed status in 1994, is maintained by the University of Manchester and open for library readers and visitors. Enriqueta Rylands purchased a site on Deansgate for her memorial library in 1889 and commissioned a design from architect Basil Champneys. Rylands commissioned the Manchester academic Alice Cooke to index the vast library of the 2nd Earl Spencer which she had purchased and another collection of autographs. Mrs Rylands intended the library to be principally theological, the building, a fine example of Victorian Gothic, has the appearance of a church, although the concept was of an Oxford college library on a larger scale. Champneys presented plans to Mrs Rylands within a week of gaining the commission. Thereafter frequent disagreements arose and Mrs Rylands selected decorative elements, window glass and statues against his wishes.
Champneys was given the honour of speaking about the library at a general meeting of the Royal Institute of British Architects and was awarded a Royal Gold Medal in 1912. The library was granted listed building status on 25 January 1952, upgraded to Grade I on 6 June 1994; the core of the library's collection was formed around 40,000 books, including many rarities, assembled by George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer, which Mrs Rylands purchased from Lord Spencer in 1892. She continued to do so throughout her lifetime. After its inauguration on 6 October 1899 the library opened to readers and visitors on 1 January 1900; the John Rylands Library and the library of the University of Manchester merged in July 1972 and was named the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. Special collections built up by both libraries were progressively concentrated in the Deansgate building; the building has been extended four times, the first time to designs by Champneys in 1920 after the project was delayed by World War I.
The Lady Wolfson Building opened in 1962 on the west side and a third extension, south of the first was built in 1969. In January 2003, an appeal to renovate the building was launched. Funds were generated from grants from the University of Manchester and Heritage Lottery Fund and donations from members of the public and companies in Manchester; the project, Unlocking the Rylands, demolished the third extension, refurbished parts of the old building and erected a pitched roof over its reinforced concrete roof. Champneys designed a pitched roof but Mrs Rylands was advised that an internal stone vault would reduce the fire risk and it was not built; the £17 million project was completed by summer 2007 and the library reopened on 20 September 2007. By the nineteenth century Manchester was a prosperous industrial town and the demands of cotton manufacturing stimulated the growth of engineering and chemical industries; the town became'abominably filthy' and was'often covered during the winter, with dense fogs...
There is at all times a copious descent of soots and other impurities'. This, the overcrowded site, created many design problems for the architect. During the century most textile manufacture moved to newer mills in the surrounding towns while Manchester remained the centre of trading in cotton goods both for the home and foreign markets but pollution from burning coal and gas remained a considerable nuisance; the site chosen by Mrs Rylands was in a central and fashionable part of the city, but was awkward in shape and orientation and surrounded by tall warehouses, derelict cottages and narrow streets. The position was criticised for its lack of surrounding space and the fact that the valuable manuscript collections were to be housed in "that dirty, uncomfortable city... not enough light to read by, the books they have are wretchedly kept" Mrs Rylands negotiated Deeds of Agreement with her neighbours to fix the heights of future adjacent buildings. The permissible height of the building was fixed at just over 34 feet, but it was suggested that it could be taller at the centre if there was an open area around the edges, at the height of buildings, demolished to make way for the construction.
Champneys incorporated this suggestion into his design, setting the two towers of the facade twelve feet back from the boundary and keeping the entrance block low, to allow light into the library. He designed the building in a series of tiered steps with an flat roof to give a'liberal concession' to the neighbours"right to light'; the library was built on a re
Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom
Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom was a movement to fight for women's right to vote. It succeeded through two laws in 1918 and 1928, it became a national movement in the Victorian era. Women were not explicitly banned from voting in Great Britain until the 1832 Reform Act and the 1835 Municipal Corporations Act. In 1872 the fight for women's suffrage became a national movement with the formation of the National Society for Women's Suffrage and the more influential National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies; as well as in England, women's suffrage movements in Wales and other parts of the United Kingdom gained momentum. The movements shifted sentiments in favour of woman suffrage by 1906, it was at this point that the militant campaign began with the formation of the Women's Social and Political Union. The outbreak of the First World War on the 4th August 1914 led to a suspension of all politics, including the militant suffragette campaigns. Lobbying did take place quietly. In 1918, a coalition government passed the Representation of the People Act 1918, enfranchising all men, as well as all women over the age of 30 who met minimum property qualifications.
This act was the first to include all men in the political system and began the inclusion of women, extending the franchise by 5.6 million men and 8.4 million women. In 1928, the Conservative government passed the Representation of the People Act giving the vote to all women over the age of 21 on equal terms with men; until the 1832 Great Reform Act specified'male persons', a few women had been able to vote in parliamentary elections through property ownership, although this was rare. In local government elections, single women ratepayers received the right to vote in the Municipal Franchise Act 1869; this right was confirmed in the Local Government Act 1894 and extended to include some married women. By 1900, more than 1 million single women were registered to vote in local government elections in England. Both before and after the 1832 Reform Act there were some who advocated that women should have the right to vote in parliamentary elections. After the enactment of the Reform Act, the MP Henry Hunt argued that any woman, single, a taxpayer and had sufficient property should be allowed to vote.
One such wealthy woman, Mary Smith, was used in this speech as an example. The Chartist Movement, which began in the late 1830s, has been suggested to have included supporters of female suffrage. There is some evidence to suggest William Lovett, one of the authors of the People's Charter wished to include female suffrage as one of the campaign's demands but chose not to on the grounds that this would delay the implementation of the charter. Although there were female Chartists, they worked toward universal male suffrage. At this time most women did not have aspirations to gain the vote. There is a poll book from 1843 that shows thirty women's names among those who voted; these women were playing an active role in the election. On the roll, the wealthiest female elector was a butcher. Due to the high rates that she paid, Grace Brown was entitled to four votes. Lilly Maxwell cast a high-profile vote in Britain in 1867 after the Great Reform Act of 1832. Maxwell, a shop owner, met the property qualifications that otherwise would have made her eligible to vote had she been male.
In error, her name had been added to the election register and on that basis she succeeded in voting in a by-election – her vote however was declared illegal by the Court of Common Pleas. The case, gave women's suffrage campaigners great publicity. Outside pressure for women's suffrage was at this time diluted by feminist issues in general. Women's rights were becoming prominent in the 1850s as some women in higher social spheres refused to obey the gender roles dictated to them. Feminist goals at this time included the right to sue an ex-husband after divorce and the right for married women to own property; the issue of parliamentary reform declined along with the Chartists after 1848 and only reemerged with the election of John Stuart Mill in 1865. He stood for office showing direct support for female suffrage and was an MP in the run up to the second Reform Act. In the same year that John Stuart Mill was elected, the first Ladies Discussion Society was formed, debating whether women should be involved in public affairs.
Although a society for suffrage was proposed, this was turned down on the grounds that it might be taken over by extremists. However that year Leigh Smith Bodichon formed the first Women's Suffrage Committee and within a fortnight collected 1,500 signatures in favour of female suffrage in advance to the second Reform Bill; the Manchester Society for Women's Suffrage was founded in February 1867. Its secretary, Lydia Becker, wrote letters both to Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and to The Spectator, she was involved with the London group, organised the collection of more signatures. However, in June the London group split a result of party allegiance, the result of tactical issues. Conservative members wished to move to avoid alarming public opinion, while Liberals opposed this apparent dilution of political conviction; as a result, Helen Taylor founded the London National Society for Women's Suffrage, which set up strong links with Manchester and Edinburgh. In Scotland one of the earliest societies was the Edinburgh National Society for Women's Suffrage.
Although these early splits left the movement divided and sometimes leaderless, it allowed Lydia Becker to have a stronger influence. The suffragists were known as the parliamentaries. In Ireland, the Dublin Women's S
Scottish Women's Hospitals for Foreign Service
The Scottish Women's Hospitals for Foreign Services was founded in 1914. They provided nurses, ambulance drivers and orderlies. By the end of World War I 14 medical units had been outfitted and sent to serve in Corsica, Malta, Russia and Serbia. At the outset of the war, Dr Elsie Inglis was secretary for the Scottish Federation of Women Suffrage Societies, affiliated with the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies headed by Millicent Garrett Fawcett; the SWH was spearheaded Dr Inglis, as part of a wider suffrage effort from Scottish Federation of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and funded by private donations, fundraising of local societies and the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and the American Red Cross. Fawcett wished to include "Women's Suffrage" in the name, but Inglis opposed this on the grounds that "suffrage" had controversial political connotations based on the example of those who advocated civil disobedience such as Emmeline Pankhurst. While not all volunteers supported the suffrage movement, the letters "NUWSS" appeared on SWH letterhead and many of their vehicles and the French press referred to their facilities as "Hospital of the Scottish Suffragists" and NUWSS provided financial support.
Initial fundraising was successfully and by the end of August 1914 they had raised more than £5,000. Established shortly after the outbreak of World War I as voluntary all-women units, the Scottish Women’s Hospitals offered opportunities for medical women who were prohibited from entry in to the Royal Army Medical Corps; the headquarters were in Edinburgh throughout the war, there were committees in Glasgow and London, working with the London office of the Croix Rouge Francaise. Dr. Alice Hutchison was the first doctor of SWH sent to France to establish the first hospital, she placed in Boulogne. While searching for a building for a hospital, a typhoid epidemic broke out amongst Belgian refugees in Calais. She, along with ten nurses treated the patients, she was noted for having the lowest rate of deaths of typhoid in her hospital. In December 1914, a hospital was established as a 200-bed at Royaumont Abbey; the initial staff included Alice Hutchison, Ishobel Ross and Cicely Hamilton. The Scottish Women's Hospitals serviced 14 medical units across Corsica, Malta, Russia and Serbia.
In April 1915, Dr Inglis was head of a unit based in Serbia and within seven months of mobilising, the SWH were servicing 1,000 beds with 250 staff which included 19 female doctors. The first Scottish Women’s Hospital was, in November 1914 staffed and established at Calais to support the Belgian army. Vicomtess de la Panouse, wife of the French military attaché to the French embassy in London helped the group identify another location at the ancient Royaumont Abbey; the abbey was property of Édouard Goüin, a rich industrialist and philanthropist whose poor health rendered him unable to fight. By December a second hospital was based in there, it remained operational throughout the war and treated wounded from the French army under the direction of the French Red Cross. A further hospital was opened at Troyes and Villers-Cotterets along with the popular and supportive canteens at Creil and Crepy-en-Valois. In December, a hospital led by Dr Eleanor Soltau was dispatched to Serbia. Other units followed and Serbia soon had four primary hospitals working night and day.
The conditions in Serbia were dire. The Serbian army had a mere 300 doctors to serve more than half a million men and as well as battle casualties the hospital had to deal with a typhus epidemic which ravaged the military and civilian populations. Serbia had fought a successful military campaign against the invading Austrians but the fight had exhausted the nation. Both soldiers and civilians were half starved and worn out and in those conditions diseases thrived and hundreds of thousands perished. Four SWH staff, Louisa Jordan, Madge Fraser, Augusta Minshull and Bessie Sutherland died during the epidemic. By the winter of 1915 Serbia could hold out no more; the Austrians had been joined by German and Bulgarian forces and again invaded and the Serbs were forced to retreat into Albania. The SWH staff had a choice to make, stay and go into captivity or go with the retreating army into Albania. In the end some stayed and some went. Elsie Inglis, Evelina Haverfield, Alice Hutchison, others were taken prisoner and were repatriated to Britain.
The others joined the Serbian army and government in its retreat and suffered the indescribable horrors of that retreat and shared the hardships endured by the Serbian army. The army retreated over the mountains of Albania and Montenegro in the depths of winter with no food, shelter or help and thousands upon thousands of soldiers and prisoners of war died during the retreat. One SWH nurse, Caroline Toughill, was killed when her vehicle ran off the road near Pristina in Kosovo; those who made it to the safety of the Adriatic sea continued to give what help they could to soldiers, civilians and in particular to the many boys who had joined the retreat. As a direct consequence of this the SWH set up a convalescent hospital in Corsica in December 1915 to help displaced Serb women and children. During this period the hospital at Troyes in France was ordered to pack. Designed as a mobile rather than a fixed hospital and was equipped with tents and vehicles, it was attached to a division of the French army and was dispatched to Salonika in Greece when their French division was transferred there as part of a belated move by the allies to provide practical help to the beleaguered Serbs.
The hospital (kno
Mud March (suffragists)
The United Procession of Women, or Mud March as it became known, was a peaceful demonstration in London on 9 February 1907 organised by the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, in which more than three thousand women marched from Hyde Park Corner to the Strand in support of women's suffrage. Women from all classes participated in what was the largest public demonstration supporting women's suffrage seen up to that date, it acquired the name "Mud March" from the day's weather, when incessant heavy rain left the marchers drenched and mud-spattered. The proponents of women's suffrage were divided between those who favoured constitutional methods and those who supported direct action. In 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst formed Political Union. Known as the suffragettes, the WSPU held demonstrations, heckled politicians, from 1905 saw several of its members imprisoned, gaining press attention and increased support from women. To maintain that momentum and create support for a new suffrage bill in the House of Commons, the NUWSS and other groups organised the Mud March to coincide with the opening of Parliament.
The event attracted much public interest and broadly sympathetic press coverage, but when the bill was presented the following month, it was "talked out" without a vote. While the march failed to influence the immediate parliamentary process, it had a considerable impact on public awareness and on the movement's future tactics. Large peaceful public demonstrations, never attempted, became standard features of the suffrage campaign; the marches showed that the fight for women's suffrage had the support of women in every stratum of society, who despite their social differences were able to unite and work together for a common cause. In October 1897 Millicent Fawcett was the driving force behind the formation of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, a new umbrella organisation for all the factions and regional societies, to liaise with sympathetic MPs. Seventeen groups affiliated to the new central body; the organisation became the leading body following a constitutional path to women's suffrage.
In October 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel Pankhurst formed a women-only group in Manchester, the Women's Social and Political Union. Although the NUWSS sought its objectives through constitutional means, such as petitions to parliament, the WSPU organised open-air meetings and heckled politicians, choosing jail over fines when prosecuted. From 1906 they began to use the nickname "suffragettes", which differentiate them from the constitutionalist "suffragists". At the time of the Mud March, before the suffragette campaign had progressed to damaging property, relations between the WSPU and NUWSS remained cordial; when eleven suffragettes were jailed in October 1906 after a protest in the House of Commons lobby and the NUWSS stood by them. Every kind of insult and abuse is hurled at the women who have adopted these methods by the "reptile" press, but I hope. The militant actions of the WSPU raised the profile of the women's suffrage campaign in Britain and the NUWSS wanted to show that they were as committed as the suffragettes to the cause.
In January 1906 the Liberal Party, led by Henry Campbell-Bannerman, had won an overwhelming general election victory. A month after the election, the WSPU held a successful London march, attended by 300–400 women. To show there was support for a suffrage bill, the Central Society for Women's Suffrage suggested, in November 1906, holding a mass procession in London to coincide with the opening of Parliament in February; the NUWSS called on its members to join in. The task of organising the event, scheduled for Saturday, 9 February 1907, was delegated to Pippa Strachey of the Central Society for Women's Suffrage, her mother, Lady Jane Strachey, a friend of Fawcett, was a long-standing suffragist, but Pippa Strachey had shown little interest in the issue before a meeting with Emily Davies, who converted her to the cause. She took on the organisation of the London march with no experience of doing anything similar, but carried out the task so that she was given responsibility for the planning of all future large processions of the NUWSS.
On 29 January the executive committee of the London Society determined the order of the procession and arranged for advertisements to be placed in the Tribune and The Morning Post. Regional suffrage societies and other organisations were invited to bring delegations to the march; the art historian Lisa Tickner writes that "all sensibilities and political disagreements had to be soothed" to make sure the various groups would take part. The Women's Cooperative Guild would attend only if certain conditions were met, the British Women's Temperance Association and Women's Liberal Federation would not attend if the WSPU was formally invited; the WLF—a "crucial lever on the Liberal government", accordin
Women's Social and Political Union
The Women's Social and Political Union was a women-only political movement and leading militant organisation campaigning for women's suffrage in the United Kingdom from 1903 to 1917. Known from 1906 as the suffragettes, its membership and policies were controlled by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia; the WSPU membership became known for direct action. It heckled politicians, held demonstrations and marches, broke the law to force arrests, broke windows in prominent buildings, set fire to post boxes, committed night-time arson of unoccupied houses and churches, and—when imprisoned—went on hunger strike and endured force-feeding; the Women's Social and Political Union was founded as an independent women's movement on 10 October 1903 at 62 Nelson Street, home of the Pankhurst family. Emmeline Pankhurst, along with two of her daughters and Sylvia, her husband, before his death in 1898, had been active in the Independent Labour Party, founded in 1893 by Keir Hardie, a family friend.
Emmeline Pankhurst had felt that the ILP was not there for women. On 9 October 1903 she invited a group of ILP women to meet at her home the next day, telling them: "Women, we must do the work ourselves. We must have an independent women's movement. Come to my house tomorrow and we will arrange it!" Membership of the WSPU was open to women only, it had no party affiliation. In January 1906 the Daily Mail—which supported women's suffrage—described the WSPU for the first time as suffragettes, a term they embraced. In 1905 the group convinced the Member of Parliament Bamford Slack to introduce a women's suffrage bill, talked out, but the publicity spurred rapid expansion of the group; the WSPU changed tactics following the failure of the bill. This translated into abandoning their initial commitment to supporting immediate social reforms. In 1906 the group began a series of demonstrations and lobbies of Parliament, leading to the arrest and imprisonment of growing numbers of their members. An attempt to achieve equal franchise gained national attention when an envoy of 300 women, representing over 125,000 suffragettes, argued for women's suffrage with the Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman.
The Prime Minister agreed with their argument but "was obliged to do nothing at all about it" and so urged the women to "go on pestering" and to exercise "the virtue of patience". Some of the women Campbell-Bannerman advised to be patient had been working for women's rights for as many as fifty years: his advice to "go on pestering" would prove quite unwise, his thoughtless words infuriated the protesters and "by those foolish words the militant movement became irrevocably established, the stage of revolt began". In 1907 the organisation held the first of several of their "Women's Parliaments"; the Labour Party voted to support universal suffrage. This split them from the WSPU, which had always accepted the property qualifications which applied to women's participation in local elections. Under Christabel's direction, the group began to more explicitly organise among middle class women, stated their opposition to all political parties; this led a small group of prominent members to form the Women's Freedom League.
Following the WSPU/WFL split, in autumn 1907, Frederick and Emmeline Pethick Lawrence founded the WSPU's own newspaper, Votes for Women. The Pethick Lawrences, who were part of the leadership of the WSPU until 1912, edited the newspaper and supported it financially in the early years. In 1908 the WSPU adopted purple and green as its official colours; these colours were chosen by Emmeline Pethick Lawrence because "Purple...stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette...white stands for purity in private and public life...green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring". June 1908 saw the first major public use of these colours when the WSPU held a 300,000-strong "Women's Sunday" rally in Hyde Park. In February 1907 the WSPU founded the Woman's Press, which oversaw publishing and propaganda for the organisation, marketed a range of products from 1908 featuring the WSPU's name or colours; the woman's Press in London and WSPU chains throughout the UK operated stores selling WSPU products.
A board game named Suffragetto was published circa 1908. Until January 1911, the WSPU's official anthem was "The Women's Marseillaise", a setting of words by Florence Macaulay to the tune of "La Marseillaise". In that month the anthem was changed to "The March of the Women", newly composed by Ethel Smyth with words by Cicely Hamilton. In opposition to the continuing and repeated imprisonment of many of their members, the WSPU introduced the prison hunger strike to Britain, the authorities' policy of force feeding won the suffragettes great sympathy from the public; the government passed the Prisoners Act 1913, which allowed the release of suffragettes who were close to death due to malnourishment. Officers, could re-imprison them again once they were healthy; this was an attempt to avoid force-feeding. In response, the WSPU organised an all-women security team known as the Bodyguard, trained by Edith Margaret Garrud and led by Gertrude Harding, whose role was to protect fugitive suffragettes from re-imprisonment.
A new suffrage bill was introduced in 1910, but growing impatient, the WSPU launched a heightened campaign of protest in 1912 on the basis