The National Trust and The National Archives have announced a new project to re-create the life of a Suffragette activist in the years before the partial grant of the vote to women in 1918.
Like so many people of her era, Lillian confronted life-changing choices that led her to join the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) causing her to be involved in militant action, leading to her arrest, interrogation and imprisonment.
By using the extensive collections of The National Archives, which include Home Office, Metropolitan Police and Cabinet papers, Suffragette City will challenge audience members with many of the same decisions Lillian faced, bringing to life the true experiences of those fighting for suffrage.
The immersive experience will recreate a number of key places that were important to the Women’s Social and Political Union including the WSPU’s Headquarters, a tea room and a police cell. It will also highlight the skill and organisation involved in militant campaigns, and the difficult choices women and men faced in their endeavour for equal suffrage. The statements of Lillian Ball, who testified against Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the Suffragette Movement, in the infamous conspiracy trials, form the basis of the experience.
This new project is created by immersive experience designers O’Neill/Ross, this project will offer different ways for the public to engage with the Suffrage movement as well as allowing audience members to go on their first suffragette mission, with actors leading the way, where they will make a series of choices about how committed they are to the fight for equality.
Joe Watson, Creative Director for the National Trust in London, comments, “alongside many other organisations this year, the National Trust is taking the opportunity to focus on women’s history and the fight for equality in our Women and Power programme. The compelling story at the heart of Suffragette City unearths the stark choices facing those who engaged in that endeavour, and encourages our audience members to step into the shoes of Suffragette activists”.
The project takes place in the London Pavilion on Piccadilly Circus, a historically important site for the Suffragette Movement as one of its principal London meeting places, where Pankhurst was often arrested for advocating the cause of equality between men and women.