The Museum of Croydon and the local community are showcasing their craft skills in a London-wide project celebrating 100 years of votes for women.
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, which will now be included in the 100 banners display.
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, (www.art-in-transit.com) 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 for Girls who became a more active suffragette after she retired. 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 (non-militant) banner from 1907, researched from newspaper records held in the museum’s research room.
These banners are all made of material and similar to the historic banners that are now housed at the Museum of London and at the Women’s Library at LSE.
Croydon’s banners will be part of the national commemorations and be processed at the March4Women on 4 March from Parliament to Trafalgar Square, led by Helen Pankhurst. . Participants can sign up at:
https://www.careinternational.org.uk/march4women. People who have made the banners and their families will accompany their creations on the day.
The banners will also feature at the Royal Albert Hall on International Women’s Day on 8 March and at the WOW Festival at the Southbank on the 10 and 11 March 2018.
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.
Lindsay Ould, borough archivist, said: “This has been an inspirational creative project that has brought the community together to explore the suffrage movement and our own local heroines. Creating these banners has been the perfect way to commemorate the centenary and we look forward to seeing them displayed in London in the Spring.”
“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.
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
To view more photos of the Croydon banners click here.