Rare Suffragette documents to come under the hammer at Great Western Auctions

In this centenary year, Great Western Auctions is delighted to offer an interesting collection of Suffragette ephemera to be sold on Friday 21st September 2018 in our Autumn Fine Art & Antique Auction. 

The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was founded in Manchester by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters in 1903. They opened their first Scottish branch in Glasgow in 1906 at 141 Bath Street in the city centre. From the start their motto was “Deeds, not words” and their aim wasn’t just to win votes for women, but by doing so to improve the lives and opportunities for women.

The Gibb family were residents of Hillhead in the West end of Glasgow. Sisters, Ellison and Margaret resided with their parents, Peter and Margaret Skirving Gibb. The family were keen chess players, with mother Margaret Skirving founding the Glasgow Ladies Chess Club in 1905 and chess played an important role in their lives for many years. The Gibb’s and Ellison in particular, developed a significant interest in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and became active participants in the cause. In 1908 Ellison was arrested outside 10 Downing Street. This was the first incident of many which resulted in time served, including 14 days in Holloway Prison.

The collection of ephemera relating to the family features in six lots (lots 330-335)

Lot 330 in our auction is a Freedom Award lithograph scroll presented to Ellison Gibb and signed by Emmeline Pankhurst.

A Freedom Award lithograph scroll on card to Ellison Gibb, On Behalf of all women who will win freedom by the bondage which you have endured for their sake, and dignity by the humiliation which you have gladly suffered for the uplifting of our sex….., signed on behalf of the Women’s Social and Political Union, Emmeline Pankhurst, printed by Weiners, London, 51.5 x 35cm

Estimate: £600-800


Lot 331 in our auction, is the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for ill-health Act, 1913) Notice given to Emmeline Pankhurst releasing her from Holloway Prison, on the 30th May 1913, along with the receipt for £100 paid by Mrs Margaret Gibb to secure the prison licence.

Hunger Strikes were regularly used by Women as a protest to their imprisonment. They were then force-fed by the Prison Officers, often causing severe effects on the Women’s health. In 1913 the Liberal Government passed an Act of Parliament, ‘Prisoners Temporary Discharge For Ill-health Act’ (better known as The Cat and Mouse Act), temporarily releasing prisoners on hunger strike, to re-imprison them when their health improved.

Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for ill-health Act, 1913) Notice
to be given to prisoner Emmeline Pankhurst is this day discharged from Holloway Prison in pursuance of the Secretary of State’s Order of the thirtieth day of May, 1913, subject to the following conditions-1. The Prisoner shall return to the above mentioned prison on the seventh day of June, 1913……….signed R.W. Paton, Governor, together with a receipt Lincoln’s Inn House, Kingsway W.C., 13.8.1913, received from Mrs Margaret Gibb (for prison licence) the sum of one hundred pounds, the discharge measures 33 x 20cm and the receipt 7 x 17cm

Estimate: £1,000-2,000


The fully illustrated catalogue will be available online on Tuesday 11th September.