The following announcement was written by Findmypast:
● Over 22,000 newly digitised records now available to search
● Thousands of 1911 suffragette census Returns also added to the collection
Digitised from original documents held at The National Archives in Kew, the collection was first launched in February 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 1918 Representation of the People Act.
Today’s release marks the second phase of this ground-breaking project and consists of material that, until now, had never before been digitised and made available online. Thousands of newly transcribed 1911 census returns that either list “suffragette” or “suffragist” as an occupation or had been “spoiled” in an act of civil disobedience have also been added to the collection.
Findmypast’s Suffragette Collection now contains more than 78,000 records taken from Metropolitan Police and Home Office files. It reveals the struggles endured by the movement’s most ardent supporters and highlights the state’s response as it attempted to contain them.
Victoria Iglikowski, Principal Records Specialist – Diverse Histories, at The National Archives said: “These files illustrate the huge impact suffrage campaigns had across government and show the state’s response through policing, surveillance and monitoring. The wealth of evidence collected in raids on suffragette premises and criminal trials gives us a unique perspective coming from directly inside the headquarters and organisation of the movement. Documents include secret codes used to evade police detection and transcripts of speeches covertly recorded, giving us a powerful perspective on the records the suffragettes potentially didn’t want to survive.”
The collection spans from 1902 to 1919 and includes the following series of records from The National Archives: AR 1, ASSI 52, CRIM 1, CRIM 9, DPP 1, HO 144, HO 45, HO 140, LO 3, MEPO 2, MEPO 3, PCOM 7, PCOM 8, PRO 30, T 1, T 172, TS 27, and WORK 11. Among these are photographs of suffragettes, cabinet letters, calendars of prisoners, Home Office papers of suffragette disturbances, an index of women arrested between 1906 and 1914 (the official watch list of over 1,300 suffragettes), reports of force-feeding, and more.
These rich documents bring together the stories of women from all walks of life who actively supported women’s suffrage, either by attending demonstrations and meetings or opting for militant “direct action”.