One hundred years on from the passing of the Representation of the People Act 1918, an exhibition at The Hive is teaching Worcester residents about local suffragette campaigners.
Curated by Maggie Andrews, Professor of Cultural History at the University of Worcester, with help from students and Worcestershire Archives and Archaeological Service, the exhibition features a variety of documents, information and photographs inspired by Worcestershire suffragettes.
‘Suffragettes, Voters and Worcester Woman’ displays several aspects of the women’s suffrage movement which was instrumental in gaining women the vote, such as flyers about meetings and processions, original newspaper articles and letters, and even anti-suffragette propaganda posters.
Maggie explained that the aim of the exhibition was to focus on the “hidden heroines” of the suffragette movement, saying: “There is a terrible tendency to reduce down the suffrage struggles to the big London leaders, but actually a movement like that has no success if there aren’t lots of people, rather less well-known, across the country contributing in different ways.”
A few of the women featured include Lady Isabel Margesson, who supported and defended women who were punished for their militant behaviour, and Elsie Howey, who was imprisoned several times for her campaigning.
Although the suffragettes were infamous for their violent means of protesting, Maggie stressed the importance of the peaceful, but just as important, aspects of the movement.
She said: “Yes, there are people burning down buildings and putting bombs in things, but there are also people who are campaigning and raising funds by creating cookery books and things like that, so it’s a really varied movement and I think trying to get that into people’s minds was what we were aiming for.”
The exhibition is on the second floor of The Hive and runs until February 23.