Is it safe to mention the Suffragettes again, now that the moralising about voting in the election is over? 🙂
(Petition image from Ann Dingsdale’s 1866 Suffrage Petition Women site, which aims to trace and document the 1,499 women signatories.)
In 1866, a group of women organised a petition that demanded that women should have the same political rights as men*. The women took their petition to Henry Fawcett** and John Stuart Mill, two MPs who supported universal suffrage. Mill added an amendment to the Reform Act that would give women the same political rights as men. The amendment was defeated by 196 votes to 73.
In the wake of this defeat the London Society for Women’s Suffrage was formed. Similar Women’s Suffrage groups were formed all over Britain. In 1897, seventeen of these individual groups joined together to form the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).
– British Library “Dreamers And Dissenters“
*There had been a previous petition on the subject in 1832.
**Henry Fawcett later became the MP for Hackney from 1874 until his death in 1884 and would continue to campaign for votes for women. His wife, Millicent, was the Mrs Fawcett on the banner in the photo below:
Elizabeth Crawford has now traced five of the signatories on the 1866 petition to South Hackney. Her fascinating blog post covers the five’s personal biographical information as well as early participation in the Suffragette movement, Communism and Vegetarianism:
A previous entries on Elizabeth’s site is also of interest: The Women’s Freedom League Toy Factory At Hackney, 1915.
Any further tip offs about Suffragettes and other early feminists in Hackney would be very welcome.