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Vanishing for the vote?
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From January 2009 The National Archives (TNA) released individual schedules ~ three years earlier than expected. It suddenly became possible to access electronically what individual households had written. With fellow suffrage historian Elizabeth Crawford, I travelled down to TNA at Kew ~ and began to explore. From the database we created, patterns gradually emerged: virtually all the NUWSS suffragists complied. Many suffragettes boycotted; married women were often absent from home ~ the ‘mysteriously missing wife’. By early 2010 Elizabeth moved her research focus sideways. But I remained keenly fascinated by the boycott ~ and determined on a full-length account. I rethought my research approach (not around individuals but around households, the basic census unit). And I rethought my own suffrage landscape: my centre of gravity shifted decisively southwards, from the Pennines where I live 120 miles down towards Buckinghamshire. And as I made research journeys during 2010, criss-crossing the country, my research centre of gravity dropped south once again, nearer north London. This final chapter of Vanishing for the Vote analyses the patterns that began to emerge: distance from London, occupation, suffrage and neighbour allegiances. It also celebrates those little-known women with courage to ‘vanish for the vote’.

Vanishing for the vote

Suffrage, citizenship and the battle for the census


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