“There is not a single question in the country which touches men which does not also touch women.” Emily Wilding Davison, 1911.
2018 marks a series of important anniversaries that helped shape democracy in the UK. The Representation of the People Act was passed in February 1918. This act tripled the electorate. It gave many the opportunity to vote in a parliamentary election for the first time. Events are taking place all over the country to mark the historic occasion of Vote 100.
The struggle for democracy has been a long one. Before the suffragettes were marching on parliament, men were being deported for being part of a trade union. Different classes have had differing experiences that all go to make up the story of democracy in this country. It is a story that is not over yet. For example, there are stills calls for the voting age to be lowered to 16.
Suffolk has been a hotbed of reform and many of our archives tell the story of democracy in our part of the country. Over the course of the year Suffolk Record Office will be marking Vote 100 in many ways
To begin with, our Bury St Edmunds Branch held a “Suffrage Saturday” open day on Saturday 10th February. The Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds, Jo Churchill, was just one of 70 people of all ages who came along to enjoy the day and the opportunity to find out some of the political stories from the west of the county, with exhibitions and original archives to explore.
The enthusiasm of those who came was infectious, with the local stories and original documents helping to connect local people to a wider narrative, showing the importance of an archive in celebrating these national events. To see pictures from the day click here
Women and Local Politics
Click here to find out more stories about women and politics before 1918.
Keep checking back to suffolkarchives.co.uk and follow our Twitter feed @KeyToThePast for more info and to see what is going on in our branches and the wider community.