In popular culture and public memory, the full reach of the campaign that led to the Representation of the People Act in 1918 is not often remembered as the backbone to the success of the women’s suffrage movement. The concept of a united national campaign for women’s suffrage, spreading as far as the Northern Isles, is in danger of being lost.
The locations of the two new statues of Emmeline Pankhurst and Millicent Garrett Fawcett – in Manchester and London respectively – are telling. There is no doubting the significance of these two cities to the history of women’s suffrage, but each part of the United Kingdom and Ireland had prominent and active ties to the campaign that worked in unity. This was acknowledged by the leaders as they travelled around the nation on rallies and demonstrations, promoting their cause and rallying campaigners. The 1913 Suffrage Annual and Women’s Who’s Who reveals a wealth of societies in every corner of every county of every country, demonstrating how popular the campaign was.