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Challenging the System: The Parliament Qualification of Women Act 1918 and the first Women Candidates 

By Professor Krista Cowman, University of Lincoln 

Wednesday 14th November, 6-8pm, MOORE AUD 

The Representation of the People Act that gave parliamentary votes to some British women from February 1918 was followed 9 months later with another act, that recognised their right to stand as MPs.  Seventeen women stood as candidates the following month.  Only one – Constance Markievicz –  was elected, but as a Sinn Fein candidate she did not take her seat and it was not until 1919 that the first woman MP, Nancy Astor, went to Westminster.

This lecture looks at the campaigns fought by women in the 1918 general election. It explains some of the legal and cultural obstacles they faced, then considers how women engaged with the electorate, collectively and individually as female candidates.

Krista Cowman is Professor of History at the University of Lincoln.  She has published widely on the women’s suffrage movement and on women in politics in Britain with books including Women of the Right Spirit: Paid Organizers in the Women’s Social and Political Union and was the historical advisor to the feature film Suffragette.  During the suffrage centenary year she has been working with Vote 100 on ‘What Difference did the War Make?’ a project to commemorate ongoing suffrage work in the First World War.  Her current research looks at women’s everyday politics in urban Britain in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Royal Historical Society and the Institute of Historical Research,

invite you to attend the launch of

 Gender Equality & Historians in UK Higher Education, Part 2

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Reception and launch begins at 18.00

Wolfson Room I

Institute of Historical Research

Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU

RSVP to:

 In 2015 the RHS published a report on Gender Equality & Historians in UK Higher Education, which has been widely cited in ongoing debates about gender in higher education. The report identified a series of barriers to gender equality, both formal and informal. It also included a set of recommendations for action, both in colleges and universities and across the profession in journals, learned societies and conferences.

      Now, as the RHS enters its 150th anniversary year, join us for the launch of the follow-up report to find out whether things have change and, if so, what has worked.

Getting to the Institute of Historical Research







Suffrage and Citizenship in Ireland, 1912-1918

15 November 2018, 6-7:30 pm, with reception to follow 

Senia Paseta (Oxford)

It is no coincidence that Constance Markiewicz, the first woman elected in 1918, was an Irish republican who had campaigned on an explicitly feminist and socialist platform.

Feminism was a more vibrant force in Irish political life than is usually allowed and it engaged in important and direct ways with key political debates over the revolutionary period, helping to shape some vital nationalist ideas and strategies. When the vote finally came, Irish women were already well organised, politically mobilised and able to exercise considerable influence over the election campaign and its outcome.

Certainly, feminist activism took place around, within and often despite the sometimes crushing influence of nationalism in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland. The Irish women’s suffrage movement was at times overshadowed by the national question and subject to internal debates about tactics and allegiances as a result of competing political priorities.

To book and for more information

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Feminist Public Histories
22 November 6:00-7:30 pm, with reception to follow
Lucy Delap (Cambridge)

This lecture offers an opportunity to reflect on how, by whom and for whom history is produced. It examines the teaching of public history in higher education, acknowledging the recent powerful calls for new kinds of curricula focused on ‘decolonisation’. The development of policy-oriented applied history is critically assessed, and despite opposition, the present day emerges as a period of unprecedented opportunity for very diverse forms of historical production that are informed by feminist principles and which extend the public profile of the history of feminism.

Lucy Delap is a Reader in Modern British and Gender history at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Murray Edwards College.  She has published widely on the history of feminism, gender, labour and religion, including the prize-winning The Feminist Avant-Garde: Transatlantic Encounters of the Early Twentieth Century in 2007, and Knowing Their Place: Domestic Service in Twentieth Century Britain in 2011.

To book and for more information


Please see below the  Friends of the Women’s Library afternoon talks programme 

Suffrage and Beyond: the afternoon talks programme of the Friends of The Women’s Library at LSE, Autumn 2018 – Spring 2019

  • 17 October 2018, David Doughan, ‘Women’s clubs in Britain 1850-1950’.
  • 14 November 2018, Helen Langley, archivist and historian, ‘A narrative from the archives: the life of journalist and broadcaster Honor Balfour (1912-2001)’.
  • 16 January 2019, Dr Sharon Thompson Senior Lecturer in Law, Cardiff University: ‘Edith Summerskill and the Married Women’s Association: Backstage Revolutionaries of Family Law’. 
  • 13 February 2019, Helen Kay, Edinburgh, ‘Chrystal Macmillan: Woman Suffrage and Beyond’. 
  • 13 March 2019, Dr Jane Grant, ‘A passionate partnership: the life and work of Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence (Work in Progress)’

 Venue: Room 01 on the lower ground floor of LSE Library, 10 Portugal Street London WC2A 2HD

Time: 2. 30pm.

Please meet in the foyer at 2.15

Cost: £3 for Friends of the Women’s Library and £4 for non-members. Cheques made payable to: The Friends of the Women’s Library and sent to: Susan Pares, 86 Crescent Lane, London SW4 9PL

Free to LSE staff and students

All are welcome, but booking is required as space is limited.It will be helpful to have an idea of numbers: replies may be sent to

Non-members are requested to supply an email address if possible in case there is a need for us to contact them. Refreshments will be served.

Information on all LSE’s programmes for the suffrage centenary can be found from now and throughout next year by clicking on this link suffrage18  

The Women’s Hall at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives is the first major exhibition about the East London Federation of the Suffragettes (ELFS). It explores the work of the ELFS during the period 1913-1918 and the involvement of their leader, Sylvia Pankhurst. To complement the exhibition there is a jam-packed programme of free events, talks, creative workshops, guided walks and film screenings taking place throughout the run, from the main public launch event on Saturday 2 June to the last day on 20 October. Alongside their campaign for the vote, the ELFS carried out relief work in the local community, such as distributing free milk for babies and serving free or cheap food to the deprived residents of the East End who faced stark increases in poverty following the outbreak of the First World War. Exhibition visitors will learn about little-known working class suffragettes like Melvina Walker and Elsie Lagsding, and the venues in Bow and Poplar which were taken over by the ELFS for use in their outreach work – such as the pub which they turned into a crèche and called The Mother’s Arms. The exhibition hall at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives has been transformed into an immersive space evoking the headquarters of the ELFS, a former Baptist mission hall on Old Ford Road in Bow which they took over and renamed The Women’s Hall. As part of the exhibition, the suffragettes’ Cost Price Restaurant will be recreated, serving refreshments on a ‘pay-what-you-can’ basis using redistributed supermarket food, and will also house a donation point for the local food bank. The Cost Price Restaurant will be in operation every Wednesday-Friday, Thursday evenings and the Saturdays we are open to the public (1st and 3rd of every month). Contact us for more details.Historic items on display include a rare ‘Ealontoys’ teddy bear made in the toy factory started by the ELFS just off the Roman Road; and the handwritten diary of suffragette Gertrude Setchfield which describes her trips from north London to Bow to witness the ELFS in action in 1914, on loan from the LSE Women’s Library. Local Somali cultural organisation Numbi Arts will stage a takeover of the Women’s Hall in August, presenting Repair and Rebellion - a strand of free events linked to Numbi’s new mobile museum exploring histories of women of the East African diaspora, their links with London’s East End, and anti-imperialism – a cause to which Sylvia Pankhurst was dedicated. The exhibition and events are free. For online listings and visitor information, visit Women’s Hall project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and also includes an exhibition of photographs by ELFS member Norah Smyth taking place at Four Corners later this year.

‘Commemorating SuffraGISTS’

Jill Liddington writes:

I saw the ‘Walking Watling Street’ dance performance in Kendal last year and it really is excellent. It tells the story of the NUWSS 1913 Suffrage Pilgrimage down the Watling Street route, from Carlisle, the Lakes & Manchester down to London.  Having been turned down for funding, Jenny Reeves has creatively started a kickstarter page to fund it for another Lakes performance this September.I wonder if other TWL Friends would like to contribute? In the wake of Jane Robinson’s book on the Pilgrimage, plus the Fawcett statue in Parliament Square, it seems a good moment to celebrate the suffragist pilgrims in dance.
Here is the link to the website:


A stone’s throw from Westminster; Suffragettes & other feminists in Camden
For information contact Irene Cockroft or Susan Croft at SuffrageArts
c/- Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre
2nd floor, Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Road,

London WC1X 8PA,   T: 020 7974 6342,

Call for Volunteers

Women’s Pioneer Housing are excited to announce that we have received funding from the Heritage Lottery fund to research our history. We would really like your help, so this is a call for volunteers.

Our project is called Pioneering Courage: housing and the new working woman 1919 – 1939 It aims to explore the link between the campaign for women’s suffrage, housing and women’s emerging role in the workplace between the wars.

We are studying an era of great drama – 8 million women two years earlier had finally been given the right to vote. But still millions of women, including many who had nursed wounded dying soldiers or served in the new women’s military units, had not and so the fight for full women’s suffrage continued. Suffrage groups were setting new goals. There was a dire housing shortage, with couples and men snapping up any half decent empty flats. Many more women wanted to work and to live independently than ever before and many more women had no choice as so many men had died in the Great War. This meant that women’s work and housing were on their agenda. And our founders were at the heart of this.
Our founding mothers were a diverse group of women, including both suffragists (non-confrontational) and suffragettes (with a “deeds not words” approach). It was previously thought that these two groups seldom worked together, but our founding history dismantles that myth.
Lots of our history is documented in old archive material found in our safe so part of what we’ll be doing will be studying that, concentrating on the years up to World War Two. We would like your help to carry out this research and to find out more generally about the lives of women before World War Two. We often read about the rich and famous – but what about women who were neither, and whose lives were probably not quite as glamorous? What do you remember about the lives of your older women friends, relatives and neighbours?
We will also be researching the women who lived in our homes at the time. Who were they?  How was each house divided and what services did the early tenants have? And perhaps most importantly, what difference did having affordable housing make to their lives?
We’re bursting with ideas for ways volunteers could be involved in our project and suspect you might have some even better ones.

If you’d like to know more, call 020 8749 7112 or email


First Women Lawyers in Great Britain and the Empire

The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 heralded women’s long-awaited entry to the legal profession.  What do we actually know about that journey?  How much of that struggle has been recorded?  Where is it recorded?  The ‘First Women Lawyers in Great Britain and the Empire’ Symposia seek to unite academics and researchers in this area

and explore the journey of those first women lawyers.



Poster Girls  a century of Art and Design 

Now showing at the London Transport Museum

for more information click here  London  Transport Museum

     Millicent Fawcett’s statue

The Fawcett Society has announced the following

We’re proud to reveal Millicent’s statue design for Parliament Square.

Gillian Wearing’s inspirational design will see her in her prime, aged 50 in 1897, the year the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies was formed. The statue also commemorates 52 other suffragist campaigners whose images will be engraved on the plinth.

Now we need your help to make it a reality.

The planning application has been submitted, but there is still a risk that this won’t happen if planning permission is not granted. Please write in support, by clicking ‘Support’ and submitting a comment online via the link below. You can write you own comment, or copy and paste the following:

I’m proud to support planning permission for Millicent Fawcett’s statue in Parliament Square. I believe it will be a fitting monument commemorating Millicent and the many other women who fought for the right to vote.


Millicent Fawcett Statue


 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

The EGA Gallery is open to the public and is free. The permanent exhibition focuses on the story of EGA and the entry of women into the medical profession in Britain, in its historical context, and contains other material relating to pioneering women social campaigners and medics. For further information about the EGA Gallery, you can go to the website of EGA for Women, the group which initiated the project. The website includes images of the exhibition space, opening hours and full address:


A stone’s throw from Westminster; Suffragettes & other feminists in Camden
For information contact Irene Cockroft or Susan Croft at SuffrageArts
c/- Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre
2nd floor, Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Road,

London WC1X 8PA,   T: 020 7974 6342,