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Rare Suffragette Collection goes on display for the first time

A rare collection of Welsh Suffragette memorabilia has gone on display for the first time at St Fagans National Museum of History.


The items which form part of the collection owned by Welsh suffragette Kate Williams Evans were acquired by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales in 2018. These include a hunger strike medal and book signed by prominent suffragettes including Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Wilding Davison.

Born in Llansanffraid in 1866, Kate Williams Evans travelled to Paris as a young woman, where she developed a keen interest in politics. On returning to Wales, she joined the Women’s Social and Political Union and became a suffragette. She was arrested in 1912 for ‘malicious damage’ and her Metropolitan Police summons forms part of the collection. 

Hunger-striking women were routinely restrained and force-fed by prison authorities. The collection acquired by Amgueddfa Cymru includes a rare Suffragette Hunger Strike Medal, given to Kate as an acknowledgement of the treatment she received in prison.

 Sioned Hughes, Keeper of History and Archaeology at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, said:

"This is an iconic collection for the history of the whole suffragette movement in (what was at the time) Britain and Ireland.”

 "While we had suffragist collections in Wales, and an example of anti-suffragette sentiment in Wales, until now we had very little in our collections relating to the Welsh suffragettes themselves. This collection is a valuable asset to Wales' political and national history collections and we’re delighted that some of the items are now on display in the Wales is…gallery for visitors to see for the first time."

Other items on display include a protest banner loaned from Special Collections and Archives, Cardiff University. The protest banner was made by the Cardiff and District Women’s Suffrage Society for a march in London in 1908.

Alan Vaughan Hughes, Head of Special Collections and Archives at Cardiff University said:

Cardiff University is delighted to work in partnership with National Museum Wales to celebrate this iconic symbol of early Suffrage in Wales.”

“This is one of the treasures of our archival collections and we’re thrilled to be sharing such a significant object and its fascinating story with Cardiff, Wales and the world.”

In July, St Fagans National Museum of History was announced as Art Fund Museum of the Year 2019 - the most prestigious museum prize in the world.

In October 2018, St Fagans National Museum of History completed the biggest redevelopment project in the history of the Museum. This was made possible by funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Welsh Government and other supporters. St Fagans was awarded the largest grant ever given by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales in 2012 to help tell the stories of life in Wales over 200,000 years and more.

 Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales is a family of seven museums and a collections centre, which are all free to enter thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. Together, it is home to the nation’s art, history, heritage and science collections, which will continue to grow so that they can be used and enjoyed by both present and future generations.

There are opportunities for everybody to get involved at all museums.

As a registered charity, Amgueddfa Cymru is grateful for all support. The events and exhibitions programme is supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.