Film Showing/Live Q&A: Wearing the Colours: Jewellery and the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain

19 Feb 2024 · 6:00PM - 7:30PM
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Join us to watch curator and author Dr Elizabeth Goring's film 'Wearing the Colours: Jewellery and the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain' for an insight into the extraordinary range of jewellery that was made and commissioned for and by suffragettes and suffragists, and the context in which it was created.

Jewellery was a powerful weapon in the campaigning armoury of women fighting for the vote in Britain in the early part of the 20th century. The militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was particularly sophisticated in the ways it employed jewellery for political expression. Between 1908 and 1914, its members wore a wide range of types, from the decorative and homemade to the medallic, from propagandising badges to the highest quality commercial and Arts & Crafts work.

Much, though not all, used the WSPU’s evocative colour scheme of purple, white and green. All of it served a serious political purpose. Special medals and brooches were awarded to women who had served prison sentences, gone on hunger strike and endured force feeding. Other suffrage (and anti-suffrage) organisations also used jewellery to promote their cause.

This film looks at a wide range of pieces through some of the personal stories behind the jewels and the formidable women who made and wore them. It also examines some of the common myths and misunderstandings that have grown up around suffrage jewellery.


The film will be shown in two parts. There will be a live Q&A with Elizabeth, after the first part and at the film’s conclusion.

With thanks to filmmaker Stephen Heaton and Ruthin Craft Centre for kindly granting us permission to show the film.

Image credit: Holloway Prison Suffrage Brooch © Museum of London

Who is the speaker?

Dr Elizabeth Goring is an independent curator and writer with specialist expertise in jewellery and metalwork. She writes on many aspects of jewellery history, including the jewellery of the women’s suffrage movement in Britain. She was a Principal Curator at National Museums Scotland for over twenty-five years, where she was responsible for developing and curating the modern jewellery collections. Her background is in archaeology and her postgraduate research focused on ancient goldwork.