Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria

To be Sold on: 13th January 2021

Estimate: £6,000 - £8,000

Sold for: £10,000

The Women’s Social and Political Union Medal awarded to Miss Nellie Godfrey, who was arrested and imprisoned for throwing a missile at Winston Churchill’s car as he attended an election rally in Bolton in December 1909

Women’s Social and Political Union Medal for Valour, 22mm, silver, the obverse inscribed ‘Hunger Strike’, the reverse named ‘Nellie Godfrey’, the suspension bar dated ‘December 7th. 1909’, complete with integral top ‘For Valour’ brooch bar, the lettering on the top brooch bar, suspension bar, and medal obverse enamelled in the colours of the W.S.P.U., in original case of issue, the inside silk interior lining of lid with gold blocked inscription, ‘Presented to Nellie Godfrey. by the Women’s Social & Political Union in recognition of a gallant action, whereby through endurance to the last extremity of hunger and hardship a great principle of political justice was vindicated’, the lining now somewhat distressed and worn but name still legible, the medal nearly extremely fine £6,000-£8,000

Do you know someone who may be interested in this lot? Let them know by entering their name and email address below and pressing 'Tell a Friend'. You can preview the message before it is sent on the next page.

Our experts are available to answer any questions you may have regarding this lot. If you would like to ask a question, please enter it below and click 'Ask an Expert':

Please note that due to the proximity to the auction, it may not be possible to fulfill your request before this lot is sold.

If you would like to see additional detail for this lot then you can request this using the form below.

Any reasonable requested additional images will be added to the lot description and you will be sent an email informing you that they are now available.

 
Sold by Order of the Family for the Benefit of the Fawcett Society.
The Women’s Social and Political Union Medal awarded to Miss Nellie Godfrey, who was arrested and imprisoned for throwing a missile at Winston Churchill’s car as he attended an election rally in Bolton in December 1909

Women’s Social and Political Union Medal for Valour, 22mm, silver, the obverse inscribed ‘Hunger Strike’, the reverse named ‘Nellie Godfrey’, the suspension bar dated ‘December 7th. 1909’, complete with integral top ‘For Valour’ brooch bar, the lettering on the top brooch bar, suspension bar, and medal obverse enamelled in the colours of the W.S.P.U., in original case of issue, the inside silk interior lining of lid with gold blocked inscription, ‘Presented to Nellie Godfrey. by the Women’s Social & Political Union in recognition of a gallant action, whereby through endurance to the last extremity of hunger and hardship a great principle of political justice was vindicated’, the lining now somewhat distressed and worn but name still legible, the medal nearly extremely fine £6,000-£8,000
Nellie Godfrey joined the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1909, and was first arrested in the summer of 1909, appearing before Bow Street Magistrates on 9 July 1909. She was arrested for a second time on 7 December of that year, charged with throwing a missile at Winston Churchill’s motor car, as he travelled to an election rally in Bolton in the run-up to the January 1910 General Election. At the time Churchill, the Member of Parliament for Dundee, was President of the Board of Trade, and was undertaking a campaign tour of Lancashire. Suspecting trouble ahead of his address, the police had erected strong barricades along the route of his journey, but Miss Godfrey managed to break through the timber barriers and threw a piece of iron at his car. The iron was wrapped in paper bearing the message ‘Thrown by a woman of England as a protest against the Government’s treatment of political prisoners.’ (Votes for Women, 9 December 1909 refers)

Appearing at Bolton Magistrates Court the following day, Miss Godfrey pleaded guilty, and was fined 40 shillings. Refusing to pay, she was sentenced to seven days’ imprisonment. Released from Manchester Prison on medical grounds (most likely under the ‘cat and mouse’ system, whereby those political prisoners who embarked upon a hunger strike were released as soon as their condition started to deteriorate, in order that they should not become a political martyr), she returned to London, and two years later appeared again before Bow Street Magistrates on 27 November 1911.

Sold with a portrait photographic image of the recipient wearing her medal, and various photographic images of the recipient in later life.