Leather restraining belt with chains: 1840

Leather restraining belt with chains: 1840
3 0 c m
40cm
actual image size: 32cm x 21cm

Full image caption

Leather restraining belt with chains. This leather belt was used by Suffragettes to chain themselves to railings before making speeches. In January 1908, five suffragettes attempted to appeal directly to Prime Minister Asquith and the Cabinet by chaining themselves to the railings of 10 Downing Street. Their method of protest was copied by other suffragettes who targeted various government and public buildings.
Since the 1840s leather belt restraints had been widely used in psychiatric institutions. A sympathetic blacksmith probably modified this belt by adding the cast-iron shackles, enabling the suffragettes literally to put themselves in chains.

© Museum of London

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