6th February - 24th June 2018
In this new exhibition we take you on a journey in the making of our modern democracy. Charting the right to vote from the 13th century to the present day, the exhibition marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918 which gave the vote to women for the first time – specifically to women over 30 with property. It also explores topical issues challenging our understanding of our right to vote today.
Should the voting age be lowered? Do prisoners have the right to vote? Should refugees vote?
The story of the suffragettes is central to the Right to Vote exhibition. The ceaseless campaigning of these pioneers of female equality brought about the 1918 Act that also gave the vote to all men over 21, and paved the way to voting equality for both sexes. The more moderate campaigners for women’s rights to vote, the suffragists, were peaceful protesters. Their suffragette counterparts were increasingly extremists, and were a cause celibre of the Edwardian era. Windows were smashed, letter boxes set on fire. Violent protest broke out against politicians. Our legal system, the police, and the courts were in the front line dealing with the fall out.