Object of the Month – June 2013

June 2013 - Emily Wilding Davison Funeral Service Programme, 1913

Emily Wilding Davison Funeral Service Programme Programme, 1913Emily Wilding Davison died on 8th June 1913, following a protest gone wrong four days earlier at the Epsom Derby. She ran out in front of King George V’s horse Amner and sustained fatal injuries. Davison was a long serving member of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), formed by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903, to campaign for women’s suffrage.  Emily Davison was known for militant activities which included disrupting meetings, assault, stone throwing and arson.  She was imprisoned many times, including a spell at Strangeways prison in Manchester.  Whilst in prison she went on hunger strike and was force fed by the authorities.

Davison’s funeral took place on the 14 June 1913.  The funeral programme includes a short obituary, a list of hymns and an emotional piece on her ultimate sacrifice for women’s suffrage.  Although many believed that Davison deliberately killed herself, others think that she never meant to die at the Epsom Derby, but was instead attempting to pin a ‘votes for women’ banner on the King’s horse.  It was found later on that she had bought return train tickets on the day of the Derby.  Whether she intended to die or not, Emily Davison is now remembered, as the only suffragette to lose her life in the Votes for Women campaign.

Many documents and items relating to Emily Davison are currently housed at the The Women’s Library in London.