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Ref  HS8    Clara Giveen's Holloway Brooch

Such an understated and unassuming silver brooch with such evocative connotations. At the beginning of the 20th century those denied the right to vote or take part in political life in Britain were convicts, the inmates of lunatic asylums - and  women. The Suffragette Holloway brooch was designed by Sylvia Pankhurst and presented to Suffragettes who had been imprisoned for their militant actions in support of the cause of suffrage for women. The brooch is in the shape of a portcullis, representing the House of Commons, with a convict's arrow enamelled in the colours of the Suffragette movement - purple for regal dignity, green for hope and white for purity, and with convict chains to either side. It measures one inch by 3/4 of an inch.

This Holloway brooch was awarded to Clara Giveen [1887-1967]. She joined the Women's Social and Political Union in November 1910, motivated by her horror at the brutal police assault on suffragettes on 'Black Friday'. Within days of officially becoming a Suffragette, Clara, aged 23, took part in a demonstration in Downing Street, where with 160 other women, she was arrested for obstruction but was discharged without trial. On November 21st 1911 she was arrested for breaking windows at a local government board office, for which offence she received her first sentence of 5 days' imprisonment. On 1st March 1912 Clara took part in the WSPU window smashing campaign and was arrested and charged with breaking windows at Jay's store in Regent Street. For this offence she received a sentence of four months, part of which she served at Winson Green prison in Birmingham until she was released on 27th June weakened by her hunger strike. Winson Green prison was one of the first prisons in the country to practise force feeding on suffragettes. Clara's last term of imprisonment was for three years in 1913 when she was found guilty along with the actress Kitty Marion of burning down the grandstand at Hurst Park racecourse within hours of the death of Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, who died after being trampled by King George V’s horse. During this last sentence she was again forcibly fed and later released under the Cat and Mouse Act. These brooches rarely come onto the market and this is only the fourth Holloway brooch I have had the privilege to handle in 35 years.

Now in a museum, which is exactly where it should be.

860897    suff4

 

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Clara Giveen [No. 16] from police surveillance photos of militant Suffragettes.
[Museum of London]


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Photograph of the Suffragette, Clara Giveen. This was one in a series of surveillance photographs of the most 'dangerous' militant suffragettes taken by an undercover photographer working for the Home Office from 1913. The images were used to identify suffragettes entering public buildings such as museums and art galleries, where they might attempt to damage the objects.
[Museum of London]

 

From the New York Times, July 4, 1913 :

SAYS SHE'LL REFUSE TO LEAVE PRISON

Suffragette Declares She Will Stay There Until Dead Unless Released Unconditionally

London, July 3 - Two militant suffragettes, Kitty Marion and Clara Elizabeth Giveen, were sentenced at the Assizes today to three years' penal servitude on the charge of setting fire to stands at Hurst Park Racecourse causing damage amounting to $70,000. Mis Giveen said : 'We have not had  a fair trial. We have not been tried by our peers. Women never will receive justice until women as well as men are on juries.' When the Judge pronounced sentence, suffragettes in the gallery of the court shouted 'No surrender!' and started singing the suffragettes' battle song, 'March on!' The demonstrators were ejected from the building and the prisoners were removed to their cells shouting 'We shall fight and we shall win!'

 

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