Ladies Allowed! How women were banned from Central Lobby, and re-admitted 100 years ago

Guest post by Robin Fell In February 1918, The Pall Mall Gazette prominently displayed an item under the headline, LADIES AND THE LOBBY – OLD CONDITIONS TO BE RESTORED. This tells us that, ‘The Speaker announced that he had given instruction that in future ladies, accompanied by members, would be admitted to the Central Lobby, from which they were excluded owing to exceptional circumstances.’  Central Lobby is at the heart of Parliament, midway between the House of Commons and House of Lords: a meeting place for Parliamentarians, and a place for MPs to meet their constituents. So, when and how were … Continue reading Ladies Allowed! How women were banned from Central Lobby, and re-admitted 100 years ago

GONE GRILLE: The removal of the Ladies’ Gallery Grilles

‘The heavy brass trellis which then screened off these galleries, and their bad ventilation, made them quite unnecessarily tiring and even exhausting,’ Millicent Fawcett, writing in 1924.[1] On 23 August 1917, to the joy of many women, the grilles were removed from the windows of the Ladies’ Gallery in the House of Commons. Women had to watch debates separately from men in those days. In the early 19th century they had done so peering down from a ventilator in the attic above the Commons chamber; after the 1834 fire destroyed the old Palace of Westminster, a Ladies’ Gallery was created … Continue reading GONE GRILLE: The removal of the Ladies’ Gallery Grilles