This film is part of Free

Trafalgar Square Riot

A suffragette demonstration led by Sylvia Pankhurst ends in chaos as police prevent a march on Downing Street.

Non-Fiction 1913 1 mins Silent


This Pathé newsreel captures the aftermath of a demonstration by the Women's Social and Political Union in Trafalgar Square on 27 July 1913. Led by militant suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, the event triggered a riot in Whitehall when Pankhurst, according to the Times, "concluded a violent harangue by suggesting that the crowd should go in a body to the residence of the Prime Minister". Despite the efforts of her personal 'bodyguard' to keep police at bay, Pankhurst was among 33 men and women arrested; on arrival at the police station she smashed several windows in protest.

Sylvia Pankhurst had been out of prison on license before the demonstration but this had expired; she attended in disguise, appearing on the plinth of Nelson's Column and delivering her speech before detectives could re-arrest her.