100 Year Anniversary Of The Suffragettes
Find out the history of the Suffragettes
100 years ago today, the Suffragettes won the women's right to vote...
British suffragettes were mostly women from upper and middle class background frustrated by their social and economic situation. Struggling to change social values, the movement took shape with the help of women's rights advocate John Stuart Mill, who ensured there was enough support to spearhead a movement that would encompass mass groups of women fighting for suffrage. In 1865, Mill introduced the idea of women’s suffrage to the British electorate and was joined by numerous men and women fighting for the same cause.
The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies were founded in 1897 from local suffrage societies. This union was led by Millicent Fawcett, who believed in constitutional campaigning, issuing leaflets, organising meetings and presenting petitions. However, unfortunately these initial campaigns had little effect.
In 1903, Emmeline Pankhurst founded a new organisation under the name of the Women’s Social and Political Union. Pankhurst went for the more radical approach - believing this was the only way women would be taken seriously if they really wanted to make a difference. Under Pankhurst's control, the suffragettes certainly made a name for themselves, and throughout the women suffrage movement many different tactics were employed in order to achieve the goals of the movement. Throughout Britain, contents of letter boxes were set alight or covered in acid or liquid so that the letters inside were corrupted, shop and office windows were smashed, telephone wires were cut and graffiti slogans began to appear across many street walls. Places of wealth, especially where men frequented, were burnt down or destroyed. Pinfold Manor in Surrey, which was in the process of being built for Chancellor of the exchequer David Lloyd-George, was targeted with two bombs in Febuary 1913. Only one bomb exploded but still caused significant damage - this attack was supposedly carried out by Emily Davison. In June the same year, Davison was killed after being trampled by the Kings horse at the Derby - it’s debated whether she was trying to pin a “Vote for Women” banner on the horse, but all ended tragically. During the early 20th Century up until the First World War, a thousand suffragettes were imprisoned for public offences and failure to pay outstanding fines.