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The UK Suffragettes

The vision of voting


Traditionally, it was felt that women’s ‘place’ was at home, caring for her husband and children. The transition (during 1760s-1840s) from small cottage industries, in which goods were primarily made by hand, to mass-produced goods in factories using steam and water power has been termed ‘The Industrial Revolution.’ Being ‘allowed’ to work meant that many women wanted to have more of a say in their own lives. However, although women could own property, they didn’t have the right to vote. Petitions about this started emerging from the 1830s. Some key events, such as the 1888 London Matchgirls Strike, drew attention to women’s rights. The earlier ‘Suffragists’ engaged in peaceful protests. Many sympathisers defaced or sabotaged their 1911 Census forms. The later ‘Suffragettes’ used stronger tactics, adhering to their motto ‘Deeds not Words.’ This involved breaking windows, handcuffing themselves to railings, posting themselves to home of the Prime Minister, going on hunger strikes when imprisoned, and even planting bombs. In 1913, Emily Davison threw herself in front of King George V's horse, at the Epsom Derby horse races, to protest against women’s suffrage. She died from her injuries four days later. This tragedy had to make Government decision-makers to pay attention. By 1918, the ‘Representation of the People Act’ extended the vote to all men over 21, and women over 30 who met a property qualification. This session will trace some key players, and reveal a variety of useful sources, including the (recently revealed) 1921 Census.

Can't make this time? Book anyway as this talk will be recorded and available to watch for 2 weeks. 

About the speaker: Dr Penny Walters lectures internationally and writes articles about a variety of genealogy topics: ethical dilemmas in genealogy; the psychology of searching; adoption; black British heritage; mixing DNA results with a paper trail; diaspora; Irish heritage. Penny is the author of 'Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy' (2019) and 'The Psychology of Searching' (2020), both available on Amazon in kindle or paperback.

New to Zoom and would like to attend the course but not sure how it works? Do contact us if you would like to arrange a free taster session.

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