Handbills are among the most ephemeral, and at the same time telling, evocations of past political movements and moments. It was very nice at the Radical Book Fair at Conway Hall today to pick up two very fine handbills. the one above is from the Pankhursts' Women's Social and Political Union and dates from the turbulent year of 1911, promising 'the greatest procession of women ever witnessed'.- and it was indeed regarded as the biggest suffrage march ever seen in London until that date, with 40,000 women processing along what had been the Coronation route.
This handbill is even older - dating to William Morris's Socialist League of the late 1880s. 1889 was the year of the 'new unions' - unions of the semi-skilled and unskilled, which rose to prominence with the Dock Strike of that year. The meeting advertised seems to have been on a similar theme.
Humberstone Gate is in Leicester - and there is also a Vine Street in the city, (though there was also a radical club on Vine Street in central London).
I sadly know nothing of Councillor W. Sanders of Walsall, who describes himself as 'the first Socialist ever elected in England on a Town Council' and a 'Member of the Knights of Labour' who had 'suffered imprisonment several times for the cause of the workers'.
Anyone know any more about him?
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