March is Women’s History Month and the 8th March is International Women’s Day. Jenny Engledow, well known local peace campaigner and an extremely accomplished embroiderer has just completed a banner depicting Mary Clarke.
The suffragettes’ processions were central to their campaigning. They used fantastic costumes, flowers, horses, choirs and bands, and above all, beautifully coloured banners, to wonderful effect. Many banners were designed to be carried by a single person and depicted heroic individual women, such as Joan of Arc, or suffrage guilds and trades, professions or activities carried out by women.
Mary’s banner has been made to a design for a single-person banner of the time and depicts her face, head and shoulders along with the words:
Suffragette Mary Clarke
1861 – 1910
First Suffragette to Die for Women’s Right to Vote
Jenny designed the banner after consultation with the Appeal and has hand-stitched every part of it, a process that took many months.
In the short term, it is hoped it can be displayed in public places such as libraries,
possibly alongside the bronze maquette. We are currently in discussion with the Council about the possibility of displaying it near the maquette in the Jubilee Library, once it has opened agin.
Longer term, it is intended that the banner will be carried through the city in procession on key dates such as International Women’s Day and 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
We look forward to the day when once again we can march and sing together on the city’s streets. In the meanwhile, our heartfelt thanks to Jenny for her beautiful banner and the hours of work that went into making it.
During the years Mary worked in Brighton and the South East she was often subject to threats and blows from hostile crowds. She was committed to non-violence and had a reputation for responding with charm and good humour to insults and threats and with calm courage to actual violence. It is fitting that such a committed peace campaigner as Jenny Engledow should make her banner.
Jenny is local Branch Secretary and a National Executive member for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Finally, our thanks to North Road Timber Company in Brighton, which supports the campaign and is making the wooden carrying frame.