Six woman walking along a street with banners on as they march for suffrage.

Suffrage 18: a centenary exploration at LSE

"Justice and freedom for women are things worth securing [...] for civilisation itself." - Millicent Garrett Fawcett, 1928

In 1918 some women – 40% – got the vote in national elections in Britain. The organised campaign for women's suffrage started in 1866 with the first petition to Parliament. By the early 1900s there were many suffrage groups for (and against) votes for women. The main image used for Suffrage18 shows women still campaigning for the vote on equal terms with men in 1927. All women over 21 got the vote in 1928.

A timeline showing the march toward the act of suffrage in 1918Download our Suffrage Timeline graphic [PDF]

LSE Library's events programme draws on the rich material in The Women’s Library Collection to commemorate the campaigns for women's suffrage and the innovative methods used to get the vote. It includes introductions to new books, talks, hands-on activities for adults and families, performance, an exhibition and online schools resources

Millicent Fawcett giving her Hyde Park address 1913
Millicent Fawcett giving her Hyde Park address, 1913.

 

Let's talk books

Celebrating new books on the suffrage movement: 

Talk podcast and video

Listen to Hearts and Minds: the suffragists' march on London event podcast 

 

Rise Up Women! the remarkable lives of the suffragettes

Rise Up Women! the remarkable lives of the suffragettes Rise Up Women! the remarkable lives of the suffragettes
Diane Atkinson talks about the campaign for the vote and new names that emerged from her research, which examines the contribution made by working-class women.

 

Who were the Suffrage Artists: lives revealed 

Who were the Suffrage Artists? Who were the Suffrage Artists?
Elizabeth Crawford examines the iconography behind the campaign for suffrage.

 

Talks

Film screening

 

Activities

Crafty Campaigning

A series of activities drawing on the innovative campaigns of suffrage groups, including: 

Suffragette Gaming, 16 May

Discover the suffragette games in The Women's Library collection, from cards to board games. After looking at the games, try playing a replica Pank-a-squith and 'Suffragette In and out of Gaol’ game in the surrounds of our At Last! Votes for Women exhibition.

 Part of Museums at Night. 16 May 6–8pm.

Make a Suffrage Badge, 30 May

Discover the variety of suffrage campaign badges we have in our collection, then make your own suffrage (or other) campaign badge in the surrounds of our At Last! Votes for Women. 

30 May 1pm–4pm.

Justice Par-Tea, 31 May

Find out more about our Justice Tea Bags and the Tea Cup Inn (originally round the corner from LSE). Then, make your own (paper) protest tea cups and plates in the surrounds of our At Last! Votes for Women. 

 On London History Day. 31 May 11am–2pm. 

EqualiTeas, 2 July

From ‘justice tea’ campaigns to Victory tea’ celebrations, find out over a cuppa how important hot beverages and cake was to the suffrage campaign through photographs and epherma – including tea bags! -  from The Women’s Library collection. It’s also a chance to see our At Last! Votes for Women exhibition.

EqualiTeas:. 2 July 2–4pm. 

Drop in!

All take place in the Library Gallery. 

Performance

Ethel Smyth Performed: A recreation of the suffragette composer's music and life in Grasp the Nettle! By Lucy Stevens. Pre-book. 4 July 6.30–9pm, Shaw Library in LSE Old Building.  

Ethel Smyth standing on a stage with a 'Deeds Not Words' banner behind her
Ethel Smyth at a Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) meeting, 1912.
  • Rare Birds - Voices of Holloway Prison. Teesside poet Natalie Scott presents her Arts Council funded project in progress Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison, which creatively retells the story of the notorious London prison from 1852 to 1955. 25 July 1-2pm LSE Library Education Room. 

External projects

We are supporting a number of projects, such as:

Exhibition

At Last! Votes for Women 23 April–31 August, LSE Library Gallery

Exhibition focusing on the tactics of the three main suffrage groups in their campaign for the vote. 

Online learning resources

Schools workshops are available throughout 2018. A new resource based on the campaigns for women’s suffrage for key stage 3 and A level students will be available online from May.

LSE Women 1918 Banner

LSE’s Knitting Group were inspired to work together by our historic suffrage banners to create a new one commemorating all the women working at LSE when some women got the vote for the first time in 1918. The names of women at LSE in 1918 [DOC] have been compiled by LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly. The banner takes inspiration from the Old Building and the beaver incorporated into the banner was actually embroidered by Joan Lynas (Economic History) in the 1960s or 70s.

working on the banner
Some of the LSE Knitting Group members working on the banner.
standing with the banner 800x600
Some of the LSE Knitting Group with the completed banner. 

Collections

For more on our internationally significant collections relating to women’s suffrage go to our Women’s Suffrage webpage.

Contact

For any enquiries relating to Suffrage 18 – collections, teaching and research, exhibition, schools and events – please contact LSE Library:

For our opening times and visiting our archives please see our opening hours.

LSE Library, 10 Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HD. View LSE Library on Google Maps.