Many Suffragette images are immediately recognisable by the colours of purple, white and green. But why and when were these colours introduced?
In the spring of 1908, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) were planning for a huge march and demonstration in London’s Hyde Park to show the Government the true strength of women’s feelings about gaining the vote. Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, the Treasurer of the WSPU and the Editor of the WSPU newspaper, ‘Votes for Women’, in a brilliant marketing move decided that the union should have its own colours. In her own words, she stated that “Purple...stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette...white stands for purity in private and public life...green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring".
Within a few weeks the colours had been adopted and were used on huge range of products from purses, buttons and pins to playing cards, jars of jam and even bicycles. When the march finally came on June 21 1908, thousands of women wore white dresses accessorised with purple and green which unified the procession and made it a brilliant sight. From that day onwards, in the minds of the British public, the suffragettes would be forever known by the colours purple, white and green.