Silver hunger strike medal presented to the Suffragette Leonora Tyson. On one side is engraved 'Hunger Strike' on the reverse 'Leonora Tyson'. The medal is attached to a small strip of purple, white & green ribbon to which is attached one purple white and green enamel bar engraved on the reverse 'fed by force 4/3/12. At the top of the ribbon is a silver pin inscribed 'For Valour'. The medal was presented to Leonora on her release from Holloway having served 2 months hard labour for smashing windows in government offices in March 1912.
Leonora (1883-1959), her mother Helen and sister Diana joined the WSPU around 1908. In 1909 Leonora became honorary secretary of the Streatham branch and in 1910, organising secretary of the Lambeth branch. As well as attending weekly meetings on Streatham Common, Leonora was an effective fundraiser for the campaign organising Streatham's contribution to the Women's Exhibition of 1909. In 1911 she took part in the Census boycott by spending census night, along with other Suffragettes, at her local WSPU branch shop at 5 Shrubbery Road, Streatham. Leonora was bi-lingual, her Father being German. In October 1911 she represented the WSPU at the Women's Congress in Hamburg, the following year she returned to Germany for a speaking tour on female suffrage.
In March 1912 Leonora served her only prison sentence for militancy. Sentenced to two months hard labour for breaking windows at Government Offices she went on hunger strike and was force-fed. From her prison letters Leonora indicates that she went on hunger strike from Sunday 14th April at 4pm and was first force-fed on Wednesday 17th April at 5pm. She was released from prison on 8th May 1912. As well as receiving the official WSPU hunger-strike Leonora was also presented with a silver medallion by her local WSPU Streatham branch at a Prisoners Reception at Streatham Town
(Museum of London)