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Suffrage and census historiographies
Jill Liddington

The 1911 census boycott has till recently been regarded as a fairly minor theme within the wider suffrage narrative. Retrospective accounts began in 1913 (Margaret Nevinson); and in 1914 Emmeline Pankhurst's My Own Story claimed ‘many thousands of women all over the country refused or evaded’. Sylvia Pankhurst's 1931 The Suffragette Movement ignored the boycott (she was in America at the time); but Laurence Housman's 1937 The Unexpected Years gives a telling account of how ‘the women had come off victors from the field’: ‘Honest John Burns…climbed down in a night’, and there was not a single arrest. From the 1980s, demographic historians began analyzing anonymized 1911 schedules, but census historians generally did not look at Votes for Women. By the 1990s however a new generation of suffrage historians had emerged, who wanted to look beyond Sylvia Pankhurst's The Suffragette Movement well-known version. Family historians and others waited for the hundred years to elapse ~ till January 1912 ~ for the individual schedules to be released by the National Archives.

in Vanishing for the vote
Vanishing for the vote?
Jill Liddington

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’.

in Vanishing for the vote
December 1833–August 1834
Jill Liddington

Anne Lister returned to Shibden, and her relationship with Ann Walker was reignited. By February 1834, their ‘marriage’ did seem settled. Rings were symbolically exchanged; and Anne wrote in code of Ann’s ‘being under no authority but mine’. On Easter day, at Goodramgate church in York, ‘our union’ was solemnized by taking the sacrament together. Then, after travelling for three months in France and Switzerland, they returned together to Shibden.

in Female Fortune
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September 1834–November 1834
Jill Liddington

Ann Walker had now moved in to live at Shibden with Anne, her elderly father, irritating sister and much loved aunt. However, Ann Walker had an inconvenient number of relatives living locally – notably the Priestleys in Lightcliffe and the Rawsons down in Halifax. They were suspicious as to why this shy wealthy heiress should leave her own home for Shibden. The Rawsons’ suspicions about Anne Lister further sharpened, as she began to develop her own coalmines – in competition with theirs.

in Female Fortune
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Anne Lister and Ann Walker 1832-33
Jill Liddington
in Female Fortune
Town meets country
Jill Liddington
in Female Fortune
Jill Liddington
in Female Fortune
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Diarist and heiress
Jill Liddington
in Female Fortune
Jill Liddington
in Female Fortune
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Jill Liddington

This explains how I selected and presented approximately ten per cent of the original diaries, December 1833 to May 1836. The diary entries are presented as seven broad chronological sections.

in Female Fortune