Museum of Croydon gets its suffrage banners on parade

Croydon residents are showcasing their craft skills at the Museum of Croydon in a London-wide project celebrating 100 years of votes for women.

Suffrage groups took great pride and identity in their banners a century ago

They have joined museums, archives and arts organisations across the capital taking part in the 100 Banners project. Funded by Heritage Lottery and created by Digital Drama, the project commemorates the suffrage movement and the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918.

Working with community groups, museum visitors and school pupils, Museum of Croydon staff have created a series of banners inspired by the borough and its history.

The first of Croydon’s banners is a collaborative creation from Croydon embroiderers’ guild, the U3A and museum staff, depicting the borough’s famous skyline, with symbols of crocuses, poppies and oak leaves.

Young people and their families have also contributed to Croydon’s banner collection, creating small bannerettes for Croydon’s collection at a museum family day last month. Visitors also worked with the artist-in-residence, Becci Kenning,  to design Croydon’s Dorinda Banner, an example of a “heroine” banner.

The Dorinda banner is inspired by Dorinda Neligan, the first Head of Croydon High School, who, into her 70s, campaigned with the Pankhursts for votes for women. Pupils from the textile group at Croydon High School are completing the work on this banner.

The final banner has been created by Museum of Croydon staff and volunteers, based on details of a suffragist banner from 1907, researched from newspaper records held in the museum’s research room.

Croydon’s banners will be part of the national commemorations and will be processed at the March4Women on March 4 from Parliament to Trafalgar Square, led by Helen Pankhurst. Participants can sign up here.

The banners will also feature at the Royal Albert Hall on International Women’s Day on  March 8 and at the WOW Festival at the Southbank on March 10-11.

Croydon’s banners will eventually be accessioned into the Museum of Croydon collections to celebrate the women of Croydon who fought for the rights that give us our freedom today.

Timothy Godfrey, the council cabinet member for banners and stuff, said: “Although universal suffrage didn’t take place until 1928, the Representation of the People Act 1918 was the key milestone to modern democracy of one person, one vote from 1950.

“This project has been contributed to by Croydon residents of all ages to mark this chapter of our country’s history. We can all be proud that their craft will be displayed throughout the capital this spring before it comes home to the Museum of Croydon – a permanent celebration of the women of our borough who fought for our democratic rights that we enjoy today.”

  • There is a further event commemorating the suffrage movement taking place at East Croydon on Monday, when staff from HM Revenue and Customs will pass the Suffrage Flag from the station to their new offices at 1 Ruskin Square, where it will be run up the flagpost and fly for the rest of the day. The event is expected to start at around 10.30am.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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