The King’s Speech
Jessie Stephenson parachutes into Manchester
in Vanishing for the vote
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Manchester remained ‘suffrage city’, and needed a regional WSPU organizer. Jessie Stephenson, a great admirer of Emmeline Pankhurst, was dispatched north. Her job included looking after the stellar suffrage speakers who arrived in Manchester ~ like Laurence Housman. She also had to persuade one of the city's most influential men, C. P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian, to cover WSPU activities in his newspaper. Not an easy job. Then on 6 February 1911, the King's Speech was read to the House of Commons. Its omission of women's suffrage was the trigger for the WFL to publicize its census boycott plans. Speakers and writers like Laurence Housman were now even more in demand. But the boycott publicity quickly provoked fierce opposition. Professor Michael Sadler of Manchester University lambasted the WFL: ‘to boycott the Census would be a crime against science’ ~ that is, against social science and the accurate collection of data on which to base future reforms. Battle was joined.

Vanishing for the vote

Suffrage, citizenship and the battle for the census


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