EAST END SUFFRAGETTE
The Photographs of Norah Smyth
Four Corners Film (London)
East End Suffragette was the first exhibition that brought Norah Smyth’s original photographs back to East London 100 years after they were taken.
Norah Smyth’s photographs provide a remarkable document of Sylvia Pankhurst and the East London Federation of the Suffragettes during the First World War, an extraordinary moment in women’s social history.
While designing the catalogue, I decided to use purple as one of the main colors used from the suffragettes during their protests. The concept of the Suffragette colors was devised by Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, the co-editor of Votes for Women magazine. During parades and demonstrations Suffragettes were instructed to wear white with purple and green additions in trimmings and accessories—dressing in their smartest clothes and to be the epitome of stylish femininity.
The purple stood for loyalty and dignity, and to this color I added the red one: the courage, the anger, the love and the fervor.
The photographs featured in this exhibition were generously loaned by the International Institute of Social History. The exhibition was part of The Women’s Hall project, a collaborative programme of events celebrating the history of the East London Federation of Suffragettes in 2018. Partners were Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, East End Women’s Museum and Alternative Arts with Women’s History Month in East London and Photomonth. This project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
© Four Corners 2018