Significant Suffragette scarf on loan to town

A RARE item of Emily Wilding Davison memorabilia will go on show in Morpeth this weekend exactly 100 years after the Suffragette’s death.

The tireless campaigner was believed to have been carrying a ‘Votes for Women’ scarf as she was knocked down and critically injured by King George V’s horse Anmer, when she ducked under railings and stepped on to the track during the 1913 Epsom Derby.

This weekend the scarf will be the main focus of attention in an exhibition in Morpeth Town Hall that is being staged by the Emily Inspires! project team planning a series of events to mark the centennial of her death.

It has been loaned by its owner – political campaigner, writer, film and television producer Barbara Gorna – who allows it to be on permanent display in the Houses of Parliament. Her first major feature script is about Emily Davison.

A recent television documentary presented by Clare Balding intriguingly added new significance to the importance of the scarf by suggesting that Emily may have been trying to attach it to the horse’s bridle to draw attention to the Suffragette movement’s campaign to win the vote for women in Edwardian Britain.

“It is an item of huge significance in what happened that day 100 years ago and it is a tremendous coup for us to have been loaned it for our Emily exhibition,” said project co-ordinator Penni Blythe-Jones.

“For 100 years speculation has been rife about what Emily was trying to do when she stepped on to the track.

“At the time, her family maintained a silence in the face of the outcry at Emily’s actions by the government, the establishment, the press and even the Royal Family. A century on, her extended family is breaking that silence to finally put across Emily’s side of the story.

“Never before have so many of Emily’s personal items gone on display and this exhibition is a rare chance for people to see them all together.”

Other possessions include her christening gown, her signed prayer book and a Women’s Social and Political Union 1909 Christmas postcard signed ‘The Suffragette’.

A second exhibition: ‘Emily Davison and the Women of Morpeth’ is also being staged this weekend in the Town Hall by the Morpeth Antiquarian Society. Both are free to attend.