We mail a lot of weird and wonderful things...

But never humans!

KJS as been trading for many years, and, as a mailing house, we regularly mail all kinds of weird and wonderful things for our clients.

But even we're not old enough to remember when the Post Office allowed individual to be posted!

On 23rd of February 1909, as part of the suffragette movement, Miss Soloman and Miss McLellan, posted themselves to the Prime Minister Herbert Asquith. At the time the Post Office allowed individuals to be posted by express messenger, known as Human Mail.
They were however not allowed admittance to No. 10 Downing Street and instead,A.S. Palmer, the poor telegraph messenger boy, was in trouble for not acquiring a signature for delivery.

Image of two Suffragettes who tried to post themselves to No.10 Downing Street.

Royal Mail had a long connection with the suffragette movement

The Suffragettes protested against the government and their lack of willingness to give them the vote. The GPO (General Post Office) which was state owned, saw some local Post Office window’s smashed during anti-government attacks. These attacks only increased due to the harsh treatment of Suffragettes in prison.

Pillar boxes were also targeted in their campaigns. Emily Wilding Davison, known for having tragically died in a collision with the Kings horse at the Epson Derby, set fire to three pillar boxes in 1911. Emily had been arrested and sent to prison many times, where she took part in hunger strikes. The Suffragettes also poured ink into pillar boxes, damaging the mail inside. This led to inventive designs to prevent this from happening. You can see in the comical postcard above a combination of both tactics being combated by the pillar box booting the Suffragette away.

Postcard depicting a Suffragette being kicked away by a pillar box.

Postcards, like the ones shown below, were used to support and ridicule the Suffragettes. On the left is an image of a Suffragette in prison, speaking of women’s liberty. Whereas on the right the Suffragette is depicted as small and insignificant being passed between two large policemen.

Two postcards; one depicting a Suffragette in prison and the other a Suffragette being held by a policeman.

Commemorative Stamp Design

The first example of the Suffragettes appearing on stamps came in 1968 when they were part of an anniversary series marking 50 years since the vote. Below are examples of unadopted designs - those that were produced but not commissioned to be the final stamps. The design by Jeffery Matthews below speaks of what women wanted, to pass their vote. Here a female hand in a delicate glove places her vote into the ballot box.

A stamp design by Jeffery Matthews with a female hand putting a ballot into a box.

David Gentleman produced two designs for the issue; one taking a photo of Emmeline Pankhurst being forcible removed by a policeman and the other looking at women wearing sandwich boards. Here they spell suffrage but Suffragettes used these as a means to spread their message - an image that shows the unity of the women.

The same image of Mrs Pankhurst being removed by a policeman was used by Clive Abbott in the below design. The extreme facial expression of Mrs Pankhurst only emphases the brutality the Suffragettes experienced at the hands of the police force.

Unadopted design by Clive Abbott of Emmeline Pankhurst being forcibly removed by a policeman.

The final design was produced by Clive Abbot for the British Anniversary issue of 1968. The nine pence issued stamp depicts the Emmeline Pankhurst statue in in Victoria Tower Gardens.

Issued stamp design of the Emmeline Pankhurst statue for the British Anniversaries stamp issue of 1968.

The Suffragettes appeared on two more stamp issues before the 100th anniversary. Once in 1999 for the Millennium Series, The Citizens’ Tale depicting a suffragette behind bars and the other of Millicent Garrett Fawcett, who was included in the Women of Distinction issue of 2008