What's the story of 'Votes for Women' in my local area?

Enquiry 6a
Alf Wilkinson

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Postcard of men and women holding Cumbrian suffrage banners - LSE Library

Often, it is local history that inspires students. This enquiry seeks to fix a study of Votes for Women in their own locality. This does mean quite a bit of work for the teacher. There may well be no consolidated story of suffrage in your particular area, so research is needed. Until you begin, you will have no idea of what will emerge.

This enquiry suggests places to find out about suffrage and then some suggestions on using these resources in the classroom. Examples from Lincolnshire will be used to illustrate this enquiry, and Enquiry 6b uses Bristol as a case study. Using a range of evidence, students will look in detail at events in their local area and then compare it to the ‘textbook’ version of events, looking for similarities and differences.

Scholarly rationale

Increasingly, research into the suffrage campaign is focusing on the local area. Much evidence has emerged recently, some of it changing our perceptions of the campaign. This enquiry gives us an opportunity to dig deep into specifics and thus, hopefully, to add to our understanding of the ‘Big Picture’ history of the topic.

Curricular rationale

Both suffrage and local history are part of the Key Stage 3 history curriculum. This lesson gives us an opportunity to do both, if you are a Bristol area school, and to explore a significant case study of suffrage in action if you are not from the Bristol area. By examining events in one city in detail, students are allowed to ask questions about similarity and difference, as well as impact.

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