Spring 2018

Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

500 signatures

Sue Jones writes -

This rather fragile book in Gloucestershire Archives to which I was drawn almost by accident has proved to be a really exciting discovery. In over 14 years of intermittent research into the women’s suffrage movement in the North East and, more recently, Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, it is the only undiscovered resource I have come across.

GA reference - D5130/6/6

In 1912, the Cheltenham M.P. James Agg-Gardner introduced the second reading of the Conciliation Bill in the Commons. It would have given the vote to about one million women and would have been a milestone on the route to women’s suffrage. It didn’t succeed but the women’s suffrage societies in Cheltenham organised the presentation of a book of thanks to Agg-Gardner with nearly 500 signatures being collected very quickly. In this book, I was able to see the signatures of those prominent activists I had already identified but, more importantly, to collect names of many more women (and men) who were supporters of the cause. Using the 1911 census, I have therefore been able to put ‘flesh’ on these names and to build up a much fuller picture of the movement in the town. This is remarkable when, as in most areas, there are no existing membership lists or minutes.

So – the domestic servants have emerged alongside the retired colonial civil servants and the draper’s assistants alongside their managing director. A picture can be developed of much more colour and variety, and this has helped me in the building up of a much larger database of those involved.

For more information visit https://sites.google.com/view/cotswoldsuffrage


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