The March of the Women: Surrey’s Road to the Vote – online exhibition

At Last! Bernard Partridge illustration for the NUWSS, 1918 (The Women’s Library collection, LSE ref TWL.2002.222)

2018 marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918 which first gave women of property over the age of 30 the right to vote in national elections. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this exhibition produced by Surrey Heritage as part of their project ‘The March of the Women: Surrey’s Road to the Vote’ reveals the county’s part in the long campaign and highlights some of unique suffrage stories.

This online exhibition reveals how Surrey’s women and men on both sides of the fierce debate played a significant role in the long campaign for women’s suffrage. The county was home to leading suffragists and activists such as the Pethick Lawrences, the Farrers, Dorothy Hunter and the composer, Dame Ethel Smyth. The anti-suffrage campaign was also prominent in Surrey supported by Bertha Broadwood and Margaretta Lemon. Surrey also saw such key events as Emily Wilding Davison’s actions at the 1913 Epsom Derby, the bombing of David Lloyd George’s house in Walton-on-the-Hill and the Great Pilgrimage passing through the county.

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Panel 1 – The March of the Women: Surrey’s Road to the Vote
Introductory panel overview, the project aims and partners, and main suffrage names featured.

Panel 2 – The Growth of the Suffrage Movement in Surrey
The C19th voting situation: Augusta Spottiswoode in Guildford and the first suffrage meetings in Guildford 1871 and 1890; and NUWSS and WSPU definitions.

Panel 3 – Suffragists in Surrey: The Peaceful Protest
The NUWSS in Surrey: Mary Watts in Compton, Helena Auerbach in Reigate, Joan Harvey Drew in Blackheath Village, Gertrude Jekyll in Godalming, and The Women’s Freedom League.

Panel 4 – Suffragists in Surrey: The Long Road to the Vote
The NUWSS in Surrey including Guildford and District Women’s Suffrage Society, Helena Auerbach and Reigate, Redhill & District Society for Women’s Suffrage.

Panel 5 – Suffragists in Surrey: The Great Pilgrimage
The Great Pilgrimage of 1913: the route through Surrey, including Haslemere, Godalming and Guildford; and Dorothy Hunter, the Haslemere suffragist.

Panel 6 – Leading Suffrage Supporters in Surrey: Peaceful vs Militant
The NUWSS and the WSPU: the Farrers of Abinger and the Pethick Lawrences of Dorking.

Panel 7 – Suffragettes in Surrey: Early Activism
The WSPU in Surrey: Peaslake militants the Brackenburys and Marion Wallace Dunlop; Ethel Smyth in Woking and her connections with Emmeline Pankhurst.

Panel 8 – Suffragettes in Surrey: Militancy Continues
1913 arson attacks in Surrey: Emmeline Pankhurt and David Lloyd George’s house at Walton-on-the-Hill, Lady White’s house at Englefield Green damaged by Elsie Duval and Olive Beamish; and Oxted station bomb by Frida Laski.

Panel 9 – Suffragettes in Surrey: the Ultimate Sacrifice
Case study of Emily Wilding Davison at the Epsom Derby, 1913. Arson attacks at Hurst Park Racecourse, West Molesey by Kitty Marion and Clara Elizabeth Giveen, and Chipstead church, with newspaper reports.

Panel 10 – The Anti-Suffrage Campaign in Surrey
An overview of the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage (NLOWS), featuring stories from Reigate and Brockham.

Panel 11 – Anti-Suffragists in Surrey: Active Women in the Community
Case studies of anti suffragists Bertha Broadwood of Capel and Margaretta Lemon MBE of Reigate.

Panel 12 – The March is Over: Women get the Vote!
The final push for the vote: how the First World War contributed, Noeline Baker and Lilian Lenton, and when the vote was extended.

Click here to read more about The March of the Women project

Click here to read The March of the Women blog

Explore more about Surrey’s road to votes for women and the county’s role in the national women’s suffrage campaign

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