Women’s Suffrage in Liverpool – the campaign for the right to vote

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sculpture of woman holding a 'votes for women' sign

Statue of Mary Bamber - A Revolutionary Woman

The film Suffragette, released on 12 October 2015, tells the story of the women who fought for equality and the right to vote a century ago. If you are interested in the local campaign to give women the right to vote you should visit our display, Taking liberties - women's suffrage in Liverpool.

The display was created in partnership with the 1918 Club, a local discussion forum for women established in 1918 by Eleanor Rathbone, a prominent politician and campaigner. 1918 is a significant year for many reasons, but particularly as this was the year that the campaign to give women the right to vote gained success with the Representation of the People Act, which gave the vote to tax-paying women over the age of 30. Many prominent Liverpool people fought for this basic right.

Radical tactics of suffragettes meant that some women faced imprisonment in Walton Gaol, where many were force-fed. However the fight was not over, and it would be another ten years before all women over 21 could vote - the same age as men.

manuscript with decorative borders

Illuminated scroll presented to Eleanor Rathbone by the Liverpool Society for Woman's Suffrage, 1918

The display contains some fantastic objects relating to women’s suffrage from the Museum of Liverpool’s collection, which members of the Club chose to display and write about, including –

  • A silver telescope inscribed, ‘Presented to Amy Johnson by the Liverpool Suffragettes 1906’.
  • Silver casket and beautiful illuminated scroll presented to Eleanor Rathbone by the Liverpool Society for Woman's Suffrage, 1918
  • Woman's Suffrage scarf (WSPU) 'Votes for Women'
  • Statue of Mary Bamber - A Revolutionary Woman.

You can also find out more in the publication ‘Votes for Women. The Events on Merseyside 1870 – 1928’, National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside.