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  • Writer's pictureShaun Lewis

The Original Black Friday

The lady in this photograph was not shopping. The photograph was taken on Friday 18 November 1910 outside the Houses of Parliament. Despite a vote in the Commons that the right to vote in General Elections should be extended to women, the Liberal Prime Minister, Asquith, decided to stop further debate and shelve the issue until after a General Election in December. This enraged the suffragettes and 300 women demonstrated outside Parliament. The police broke up the demonstration violently and brutally. 200 of the protesters were assaulted sexually or with truncheons or fists.

The photograph was published in The Daily Mirror, but the government tried to cover up the incident by attempts to seizing all copies of the newspapers and by demanding the negatives be destroyed. It also refused to mount an enquiry into the police conduct during the event. The day was soon dubbed Black Friday. Something to ponder in the sales this November.

Should you wish to know more about the history of the suffragettes, then please come to my talk next Thursday in Garstang Library. The event is free.

Ernestine Mills, a victim of police brutality on Black Friday

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