Suffragette's medal sold at record price

A suffragette being arrested in 1914 Credit: PA

A gallantry medal and letters from prison of 85-year-old suffragette Mary Aldham have been sold in Suffolk for a record sum of £23,450.

Aldham went on hunger strike in Holloway Prison four times before the ‘Votes for Women’ movement ended on the outbreak of the First World War.

Her gallantry medal has a ‘For Valour’ bar and three silver clasps. The words ‘hunger strike’ are also present.

Among the letters are two to her daughter and copies of the Suffragette magazine. A bag made in Holloway and a certificate on her release from prison were also included in the lot.

Mary Aldham's medal and memorabillia Credit: Lockdales of Martlesham

Aldham was one of the most remarkable of the suffragettes. In 1914, just before the outbreak of World War One, she was still very active in the movement, at the age of 85.

All in all, she served seven stretches in the notorious Holloway jail in the capital, and went on hunger strike four times.

“It was a record price for a suffragette medal, and we are so thrilled.

Mary Aldham was one of the most famous and feared suffragettes. What she achieved for the cause was unbelievable.”

– James Sadler, Auction manager at Lockdales of Martlesham
Trial of Maude Kate Smith, another suffragette imprisoned for damaging works of art, in 1914 Credit: PA

Aldham’s most headline making crime came in April 1914, when she went to London’s Royal Academy Exhibition. Here she slashed a painting of the author Henry James by John Singer Sargent. James was targeted due to his regular anti-suffragette writings.