What Difference Did the War Make?

Getting selected – a landmark for women’s rights

Guest post by Krista Cowman As part of our AHRC project ‘What Difference did the War Make’, we’re holding an event at the University of Lincoln to look at what women have to do in order to be selected as … Continue reading Getting selected – a landmark for women’s rights

Robes and Ritual: Preparations for Women’s Arrival in the House of Lords

Guest post by Duncan Sutherland Background  Prior to a debate on a motion to admit women to the House of Lords in 1930, the newly-created Lord Noel-Buxton was introduced. The introduction ceremony involved the new peer and his two supporters (current members of the House) wearing bicorn hats and scarlet robes trimmed with gold and miniver, processing behind Garter King of Arms and the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod. He presented his Letters Patent (creating his peerage) and the Writ of Summons summoning him to parliament, which were read aloud. After taking the oath and signing the Roll, Lord … Continue reading Robes and Ritual: Preparations for Women’s Arrival in the House of Lords

Out of ‘site’, out of mind? The Hidden Ladies of the Ventilator

Guest post by Amy Galvin-Elliott Historically, women have had a contentious relationship with the Houses of Parliament, and their access to and interaction with the spaces of Parliament provides an illuminating co-narrative to their journey towards enfranchisement. The Vote 100 project is a really exciting opportunity to recreate and try to imagine some of the spatial experiences of the women who, for example, observed Commons debates from the ventilator, were concealed behind the grille of the Ladies’ Cage, or who stormed Westminster Hall and St Stephen’s Hall to fight for their political rights. This post focuses on the early space … Continue reading Out of ‘site’, out of mind? The Hidden Ladies of the Ventilator

Another record breaker! Margaret Beckett, longest-serving woman MP

On 24 March 2017, Dame Margaret Beckett MP became the longest serving female MP, serving for 38 years and 128 days, in two separate periods. Margaret Beckett (or Margaret Jackson, as she then was) was first elected as the MP for Lincoln at the general election held on 10 October 1974. She lost her seat at the following election (3 May 1979) but returned to the House of Commons on 9 June 1983 as MP for Derby South.  She has continued to represent Derby South since then. On 24 March 2017 she overtook Gwyneth Dunwoody as the female MP with longest total … Continue reading Another record breaker! Margaret Beckett, longest-serving woman MP

‘The lady Liberal agent’

‘The lady Liberal agent’: Bertha Fischer (1875-1920) and Ellen Pocock (1854-1943) Guest post by Kathryn Rix In July 1902 the ‘Ladies’ Column’ of the Dundee Evening Telegraph ran an article on ‘Novel professions for women’, featuring ‘The lady Liberal agent’, Bertha Bowness Fischer. She had recently passed the professional examination held by the Society of Certificated and Associated Liberal Agents (SCALA), becoming the first woman to qualify as a Fellow of that body. Given that women were excluded from the parliamentary franchise until 1918, and from the comparable profession of solicitor until after 1919, it is rather surprising to find … Continue reading ‘The lady Liberal agent’

‘The Burning Question’

One hundred years ago, votes for women gained support in Parliament thanks to Speaker James Lowther.  ‘I endeavoured to push off the burning question of women’s suffrage as long as I could.’ (Speaker Lowther, ‘A Speaker’s Commentaries’) Speaker James W Lowther was remembering a Conference on electoral reform which discussed and then recommended votes for women on 10-11 January 1917. January 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of this important but little-remembered Parliamentary body, which was crucial in the history of votes for women. Speaker Lowther had been contending with suffragette agitation in the Palace of Westminster over a number of … Continue reading ‘The Burning Question’