'Dodge the police!' Suffragette board game Pank-a-Squith unearthed

Posted on 27/02/2018 in Press Coverage

A century-old game unearthed in Stratford to support the Suffragette movement has been described as a ‘wonderful find’.

The timely discovery, made in the year Britain marks the 100th anniversary of some women winning the right to vote in 1918, was found at a free antiques valuation day.

The dice game called Pank-a-Squith was named after Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the British Suffragette movement, and her adversary, British prime minister from 1908-1916 Herbert Asquith.

He advocated denying women the right to vote. As a result, his house became a target of the British suffragette movement’s mass window-breaking campaign in the early 20th century. Despite the views of Asquith, the Representation of the People Act 1918 finally gave women over 30 the right to vote. In 1928, all British women aged over 21 were granted the right to vote.

Jon Keightley, valuer for Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers, found the game at a monthly valuation event held by the firm at The Malt House, The Rookery, Alveston.

He said: “It’s a wonderful find. The game isn’t complete as it is lacking the board. It dates back to around 1909 and is probably German.A complete game has sold in the past for £660 but, as this one is incomplete, it may only make around £100.

“Pank-a-Squith was made to entertain supporters of the Suffragette Movement while raising funds for them and promoting their cause.

“It is essentially a glorified version of snakes and ladders where Suffragette figures have to negotiate the board while avoiding arrest.”

There are six Suffragette figures in the game and, depending on what square your suffragette figure falls on, you follow instructions such as: ‘Dodges the police and must go back to her home on square number 1’.

Mr Keightley said: “Object like this show how advanced the Suffragette movement was in terms of making merchandise to back their cause.”

The Suffragette movement produced toys and games to popularise its ideas and activities. The Pank-a-Squith board game was first advertised in Votes for Women on October 22, 1909.

It was distributed and sold through a network of high-street shops run by the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Hansons will hold its next free antiques valuation day at The Malt House, The Rookery, Alveston, Stratford, Warwickshire, CV37 7QP, on March 23, 1-4pm. To find out more, call Carol Jones on 07802 839915.

The Suffragette game will be sold at Hansons Auctioneers, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, on March 27 with an estimate of £100. To find out more, email [email protected] or call 01283 733988.