“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, on Saturday 10th February 2018, our Bury St Edmunds branch will be holding a “Suffrage Saturday”. This free open day will give people the opportunity to find out about some of the political stories from the west of the county, take part in some fun activities and even record their political memories as part of some contemporary collecting for the archives of the future. If you would like to come along between 10am and 4pm you will get our vote!
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.