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Non-militant suffragettes and their peaceful march for votes


The Women’s Suffrage Pilgrimage of July 1913 was a peaceful march designed to show the British government the sheer number of women from across the country who demanded the right to vote.

Members of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) set off on foot, or sometimes on horse or bicycle, from branches across the country with the aim of converging on Hyde Park on 26 July 1913. Wearing raffia cockle-shell brooches, the emblem of the pilgrim, they set off for the capital on 18 June along eight different routes including Carlisle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Land’s End.

The NUWSS was non-militant and wanted to use the march to spread the word by holding meetings and giving out literature along the route. They were often met by hostility and ridicule which had been whipped up ahead of their progress by anti-suffrage groups.  On other occasions local sympathisers laid on tea and cakes and walked with them for a few miles. By the time the various groups came together in London, they were 50,000 strong, had collected some 46,000 signatures for their petition, and several thousand pounds had been donated to the cause.

It would not be until the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 that women would be granted the same rights to vote as men.

The 1913 NUWSS meeting in Hyde Park:

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