100 years ago as the result of the Representation of People Act 1918the franchise was radically extended to give the vote to women over 30 (who met the property qualification) and all men over 21 (Don’t believe anything you may read about equality being granted back then!).
8.5 million women met the criteria, but it still only represented 40 per cent of the total population of women in the UK.
The same act abolished property restrictions for men and thus many of working class origin were able to vote for the first time. Additionally, men in the armed forces could vote from the age of 19. The electorate increased from eight to 21 million.
The National Archives and Find My Past have collaborated to digitise some key records relating to Suffragettes. The Suffragette collection spans from 1902 to 1919 and includes the following series of records from The National Archives: AR1, CRIM9, HO144, HO45, HO140, MEPO2, and MEPO3. Among these are photographs of suffragettes, cabinet letters, calendars of prisoners, Home Office papers of suffragette disturbances, an index of women arrested between 1906 and 1914 (the official watch list of over 1,300 suffragettes), reports of force-feeding, and more.
These records, together with census records and birth, marriage and death records can be viewed for one week only for free on FindMyPast if you follow the link below.
NOW – 8th February
Did the women in your family change history?