Panko is a beautifully illustrated card game and I think it is one of the most interesting artefacts from the Suffragette era. It was sold by the militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) as a marketing tool and to raise funds for the cause.
It was marketed as a gift (selling for 2 shillings) and advertised in the WSPU newspaper ‘Votes for Women’ and other newspapers in December 1909 with the funny caption:-
“Not only is each picture itself an interesting memento, but the game produces intense excitement without the slightest taint of bitterness.”
Panko contained 48 cards with illustrations by Punch’s E T Reed and reflected some of the key moments and characters in the Suffrage campaign with some wonderful details. There is a lovely pen and ink illustration of Emmeline Pankhurst with her sash in the WSPU colours of Purple, white and green. Another card shows a suffragette being escorted to the police station by a burley policemen and another card depicts a group of suffragettes trying to gain entry to the House of Commons. Christabel Pankhurst is shown with her arm raised in majestic fashion and upholding the law in her robes.
Despite having a first class law degree from Manchester University, as a woman she was not allowed to practice the law. The judge is seen passing out a judgement of Fourteen days while the other men in the court room sit laughing and sniggering. While, in the Holloway jail, a rather posh looking suffragette in a fur coat covered in the prison arrow symbol is seen refusing to eat at the ‘Holloway Restaurant!’
The Panko rules specify that all players should be split into Suffragists and the Anti-Suffragists. The illustrations show figures on both sides of the debate, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst leading the campaign, a judge sentencing a suffragette to 14 days in jail, a policeman arresting a suffragette and a card showing the suffragette refusing a meal in Holloway!