Suffragettes protesting outside Duke Street Prison, c 1914.
These women were members of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) a militant organisation which campaigned to win the right to vote for women. The WSPU was founded in Manchester in 1903, and a branch was set up in Glasgow in 1906. In 1908 the WSPU Scottish headquarters opened at 141 Bath Street.
The greatest period of militancy for Scottish suffragettes was between 1912 and 1914. A campaign of window smashing began in 1912, followed by acid attacks on Royal Mail pillar boxes; cutting and bombing telephone links; setting fire to empty buildings and physical attacks on leading politicians. Suffragettes who were arrested for their crimes usually sentenced to imprisonment, and often went on hunger strike in jail. The authorities resorted to force-feeding, an unpleasant process which could seriously damage health. Supporters of the jailed suffragettes responded by organising protests and petitions against the practice.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
activists, Duke Street Prison, force-feeding, gaols, hunger strikes, jails, political activists, prisons, suffragettes, vandalism, votes for women, women, Women's Social and Political Union, women's suffrage, WSPU