Jane Campbell: Parliamentary divorce pioneer — The History of Parliament

On 23 June 1801, a woman called Jane Campbell divorced her husband Edward Addison by Act of Parliament, and became the first woman to obtain a Parliamentary divorce. Dr Mari Takayanagi, Senior Archivist at the Parliamentary Archives and joint Project Manager for Vote 100, discusses how this came about, the significance of the case, and... Continue Reading →


We are grateful to Dr Dana Mills for this interesting blog reflecting on Mary Wollstonecraft’s ideas on political equality and their continuing relevance. She discusses a Vote100 favourite ‘the ventilator’ an area we would love to know more about, particularly first-hand accounts by women who visited it, so please do let us know if you come... Continue Reading →

New Dawn

Welcome to New Dawn artist Mary Branson’s Artist-in-Residence diary. New Dawn is a light sculpture commemorating the campaign for votes for women in Parliament. Unveiled in June 2016, it is part of the Parliamentary Art Collection. The artwork developed from Mary’s period as Artist-in-Residence to Women’s Suffrage in the Houses of Parliament in 2014. During... Continue Reading →

‘Why this fascination with an MP who died 70 years ago? Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland writes about Eleanor Rathbone

Remembering Eleanor Rathbone

Eleanor Rathbone

A number of celebrations are taking place this year of Eleanor Rathbone. In Liverpool recently a thousand people attended a lecture about her.

Why this fascination with an MP who died 70 years ago, never held Ministerial Office and died before the reform to which she devoted her life was introduced?

I believe it is because the causes she espoused are still with us today. The conditions may have changed, but the arguments remain the same. Her principle campaigns were for family allowances, refugees and women’s rights.

Eleanor Rathbone was – literally – a big whig. She came from a wealthy and well –established Liverpool Quaker shipping family.

After Oxford, she returned to Liverpool. There she produced a significant Report on an Inquiry into the Conditions of Dock Labour at the Liverpool Docks. Her argument was not a socialist-class based analysis – her concern was that wages did…

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The Eligibility of Constance Markievicz

The History of Parliament

On 14th December 1918, Countess Constance Markievicz (1868-1927) became the first woman to be elected to the UK Parliament, but she did not take her seat. Dr Mari Takayanagi, Senior Archivist at the Parliamentary Archives  and joint Project Manager for Vote 100  discusses how this came about and whether she would in fact have been eligible to be an MP.

In 1918, the Representation of the People Act allowed some women over the age of 30 to vote in Parliamentary elections for the first time, and the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act allowed women over the age of 21 to stand as candidates in Parliamentary elections. Constance Markievicz wrote to her sister Eva Gore-Booth:

By the way, shall you stand for Parliament? I wouldn’t mind doing it as a “Shinner” as an election sport, and one does not have to go to Parliament if one wins, but…

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