I have no proof that Suffragettes ever took to eight wheels (four on each boot) but in view of their inventiveness and what was seen by some as a reign of hit and run terror tactics, it was probably only a matter of time! They certainly took up the two wheels option of the bicycle which was a major tool of liberation for working class men and women.
Suffragettes on wheels and graffiti … the historical proof.
“These campaigners used various methods of campaigning, for example, in 1910 Miss Constance I. Craig , known locally as “the Suffragette”, spent her time riding a bicycle to isolated villages and placed Votes for Women [posters? Newspapers?] in bus shelters and libraries. (Votes for Women, September 23rd, 1910)”
“…Visits on market towns to neighbouring towns … where awestruck children who had never seen a real live lady chalking the pavements whispered “them must be Suffragettes” (Votes for Women, September 13th, 1912)
Quoted from pages 54-55 from Friends and Visitors: A History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Cornwall 1870-1914, Katherine Bradley (Hypatia Press, second edition 2019 now out)
There is a fine double page spread on each in The Edwardian Scrapbook, one of Robert Opie’s wonderful packaging and ephemera scrapbook series. At the time, postcards and board or card games were one way of promoting, ridiculing or cashing in on such topical news.
Even the sprightly language seemed similar – one suffragette board race game was called Panko, whilst a mineral water drink aimed at Roller Skaters was called Rinko. The full inventive weight of the publishing, advertising, marketing and promotion business of the day was given over to such spurious and ephemeral inventions. Aeroplanes, diablos, motor cars … all were new crazes of the decade.
Without trivialising the escalating violence of the Suffrage struggle for women’s rights such as Black Friday 1910, I had a mad vision of creating a similar gridded game with suffragettes and anti-suffrage supporters on roller skates posting up their meeting posters, chalking graffiti, pulling down or overpasteing their rivals posters. Meanwhile burly or comically tubby Edwardian postcard policemen try to arrest and restrain the Suffragettes.
Even more splendidly, militant Suffragettes were trained in Suffrajitsu to resist arrest or form a protection mob for their leaders, should a suffragette meeting be broken up by rivals or paid ‘roughs’ and rentamobs.
The Highly Simplified History Bit – Suffragist or Suffragette?
Suffragists were women and some men who supported Votes for Women (Suffrage) through peaceful meetings and legal campaigning, lobbying councils, MPs and Parliament. Most suffragists were part of the NUWSS, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, led by Millicent Fawcett. Their colours were red, white and green.
Suffragettes from 1912 used more ‘direct action’ based, civil disobedience militant tactics. These women were prepared to break the law and cause physical damage (window breaking, arson attacks on buildings and postboxes) as well as chaining themselves to railings and going on hunger strike. Most suffragettes were members of the WSPU or Women’s Social and Political Union led by the Pankhursts from 1903. Their colours were purple, white and green. They published the weekly paper Votes For Women then later The Suffragette.
White clothes (the symbol for purity) were generally worn on marches and parades.
Anti-Suffrage or Anti-Suffragists were women and men opposed to women having the vote (suffrage). Their response ranged from campaigning and writing against Suffrage by women of the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League (1908) to the more physical violent breaking up of meetings by men. They had no particular colours (Black, Red?) and published The Anti-Suffrage Review.
Both sides broadly backed the war effort from August 1914 onwards and suspended campaigning. The first votes for some women (over 30) in the U.K. were granted at the end of WW1 in 1918. All women in Britain were given the vote in 1928.
The suffragette figure problem*
*No jokes about buxom or trim waistlines please. Leave that to the postcard artists of the time.
Nobody strangely seems to make an easy and affordable source of Edwardian period Suffragettes on or off roller skates or indeed any roller skating figures above the modern roller skaters for HO OO railways. Yet (grumble, grumble) I can in this golden age of gaming buy multiple versions by different makers of the same old Waterloo, Roman, ACW, WW2 figures in many scales.
Conversion was my only option. Whilst I had kit-bashed together a bunch of Suffragettes for the 2018 centenary of Votes for Women, none of them looked right as roller skating ‘bill stickers‘, anxious not to be caught and prosecuted. (That’s Wilhelmina Stickers or Belinda Stickers, obviously.)
Buying and converting metal 54mm Edwardian ladies would cost a small fortune. Curiously researching what female figures I could find on the web, I could buy plenty of erotic female figures, but not one suffragette. Annie Norman at Bad Squiddo has done some fabulous female WW2 Home Front figures in 28mm but not produced pre-WW1 Suffragettes (yet).
Suffragette figures did exist at the time as games counters, like these auctioned from the Edwardian game Pank-A-Squith in 2018
Metal figures from Pank-A-Squith, a game about who was running the country? Mrs Pankhurst or Prime Minister Herbert Asquith?
I have based some of my NUWSS suffrage ladies on these PankAsquith game pieces.
One cheap and easy solution was to do a Peter Dennis of Paper Boys fame and draw some “Paper Girls”. After all this is just work in progress and proof of concept.
Having no printer, I could not copy and print enough of Peter’s wonderful figures from his 54mm Little Wars range. So I went one further or sideways and traced the outline of an Edwardian lady from his Little Wars 54mm paper soldiers, as I knew this would be the right size.
Making a paper cut-out copy front and back of even one Peter Dennis figure gives me renewed respect for his achievement in putting together his Paper Boys books. He is a very clever man! If Peter sees this, I hope that he likes what I have done to alter the basic figure, adding roller skates, billposters, paste pot and brush.
Excellent reference materials and Peter Dennis’ Paperboys: Little Wars
I used the same height / scale size sketches of the original Pank-a-Squith figures.
For policemen, oddly there are none in Peter Dennis Little Wars and I do have some homecast and hollowcast ones but I will sketch one or two hefty Edwardian policemen out, based on photographs or comic postcards.
Then using a few cardboard packets reversed I should be able to make a slightly more Edwardian townscape than the rundown urban setting of my skateboard game.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 10th / 11th July 2020
Appendix Draft Rules, Suffra-graffiti WIP 1.0
Aim: to put up as many as possible of your colours posters and remove those of rivals.
Roller Skater figures can go four squares in one move (except on grass, where movement halved)
Figures on foot like the Police, NASWL anti-suffrage ladies, ruffians and bystanders move two squares.
You can MOVE in a turn or you can PASTE A POSTER on a wall in a turn but cannot do both.
IGOYUGO – give a number 1-6 to each faction, the first number rolled on a d6 moves first.
Jumping up obstacles costs half the move.
Note: Adjust the following distances as you see fit.
Pasting a poster on a wall takes one turn (attach poster in your colours).
Pasting a poster over the other side’s poster takes one turn – change their panel for one of yours. Keep theirs in your base pile.
You have limited or unlimited posters as you see fit (the Spla-fiti equivalent of ammunition).
The side with the most posters up at the end of the game wins (or the most of their opponents posters taken down.)
There is no melee fighting phase except for a suffragette resisting arrest.
If you choose to crash into another roller skater and knock them out of a game, a d6 dice throw of 1 knocks out another roller skater and yourself.
However savings throws are thrown for both you and the other roller skater.
Less than 6 knocks out the roller skater or yourself.
6 is unhurt.
You can decide for how long you or the other skater are out of the game until you respawn at home base.
Winston … Spot the suffragette with her votes for women label and green and purple … Punch, source unknown.
NASWLAnti-suffragistladies are not arrested for putting up or taking down posters. They have no roller skates.
The police officers are there to catch the roller skating suffragettes and suffragists. If they can touch bases, they can try to arrest them.
If the Police can successfully arrest a skater girl suffragette (if they can catch them*) they can take them individually away back to an off board jail square.
(No Mr Churchill, as Home Secretary, You cannot add an Edwardian set-to-stun “Tazer” option.)
Arrest is by melee – if the suffragette or suffragist wins, they escape arrest and can move an extra turn away from the Police.
If the Policeman wins, the suffragette or suffragist figure is escorted by one policeman at two paces a move off the board.
I have yet to add in programmed random NPC (non player character) city types to get in the way (from model railway civilians etc) – a chance to add in a paper version of my hollow-cast lead tramp figure as a hobo etc.