Friday, 28 February 2014

Gertrude Jekyll and the Haslemere Peasants Part 4

There are a few more links that I would like to highlight between Gertrude Jekyll and the Haslemere Peasant Arts movement.

A quick recap: Gertrude Jekyll's interest in collecting peasant art is indicated by her loan of exhibits to the 1902 Peasant Art exhibition at Charterhouse School organised by her friend Rev Gerald Davies, who was to later sell his collection to the Peasant Arts Guild (and is now held by Haslemere Educational Museum), and written in this post.  Her love of bygone days and the simple peasant lifestyle is expressed in her Old West Surrey book mentioned in my last 3 posts on this subject (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3). 
Godalming's suffragette banner, designed by Gertrude Jekyll
image from People's History Museum

Jekyll also had an interest in the suffragette movement, which I cannot see too widely documented.  The most I can find is that Jekyll is noted as being in the audience in October 1910 at a NUWSS Brighton demonstration, according to Elizabeth Crawford (The Women's Suffragette Movement in Britain and Ireland, Routledge, 1913).

Godalming museum hold an embroidered 'Godalming' suffragette banner which Jekyll designed.  Whilst the design holds little similarity to the work of the Peasant Arts movement, it is of interest because Haslemere's suffragette banner was woven by the St Edmundsbury Weaving Works which was based at College Hill, Haslemere (before re-locating to Letchworth Garden City).   The St Edmundsbury Weavers advertised their business in conjunction with the Kings, Blounts, Luther Hooper and Arthur Romney Green as the 'Handicrafts of Haslemere'.

Gertrude Jekyll's Godalming Suffragette banner,
on display at Godalming Museum
detail of Gertrude Jekyll's Godalming Suffragette banner,
on display at Godalming Museum

 The Surrey Times (20 June 1908) highlighted the Haslemere banner as being particularly beautiful and carrying the slogan 'Weaving fair and weaving free England's web of destiny'.

Handicrafts of Haslemere leaflet c.1902
reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum

Whilst Haslemere Educational Museum hold a photograph of a 1908 suffragette march where the banner was carried, it's impossible to identify the banner from the photograph.  Presumably it's either the first dark coloured banner in the parade or the tall white banner further behind, the circular looking design is perhaps representing a 'web'?  Crawford (ibid.) notes that the Haslemere NUWSS was founded in 1908, she also reports that "in July 1913 a bomb, presumed to have been the work of suffragettes, was left at Haslemere station but failed to ignite".

Suffragette march, Haslemere High Street 1908
carrying the Haslemere suffragette banner
reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum

1908 was a popular year for suffragette marching, the website exploringsurreyspast reports that "in May, 1908, The Surrey Advertiser reported the Suffragettes on Tour, with Lively times at Godalming. The meeting ended with the ladies having to flee through the back door of Thorns Restaurant in Church Street and escape by means of ladders over a high wall into the Deanery House garden. They went to the railway station, but were ordered out, then made their way to the Burys and Bridge Street. Here they took shelter in the police station for an hour before going back to their van."

Suffragette march, Godalming c.1908
with Gertrudge Jekyll designed suffragette banner
photograph on display at Godalming Museum


  1. What an interesting link to the Haslemere Peasants and what a beautiful banner!

    Have you come across Jane Brown`s book about Gertrude Jekyll, "Gardens of a Golden Afternoon"?

  2. Hi, no I hadn't heard of that book. Interesting that's it about the story of Jekyll and Lutyens partnership, as my next post was going to about Lutyens!


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