New Criticals

After London’s Black Friday, the militant Women’s Social and Political Union, led by Emmeline Pankhurst, abandoned peaceful protest.

"[O]n two separate days, at a preordained time and with no warning, hundreds of smartly dressed women from Oxford Street to Whitehall, all along Piccadilly and Bond Street, produced hammers from their muffs and laid waste to hundreds of square feet of shop frontage. Emmeline was arrested along with a total of 220 other protesters."

The WSPU vandalized mailboxes. They smashed vitrines in the British Museum. They cut telegraph wires, chained themselves to the Prime Minister’s Office, and carried Saturday Night Clubs: knotted, tar-dipped ropes, weighted with lead, to combat police truncheons. And…they burned the homes of unhelpful Members of Parliament to the ground, in several acts of arson. They planted bombs in railway stations, the Bank of England, and the home of Chancellor Lloyd George. Cecily McMillan would probably not condone their tactics, although she might approve of the WSPU’s Bodyguard, women trained in self-defense by jujutsu instructor Edith Margaret Garrud.