Women and Power podcast series
This five-part podcast series explores the stories behind key characters in the women's suffrage debate by opening the archives to discover seldom-told stories of the maids, mill-workers, politicians and royalty who helped shape the world we live in today. Join journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark as she discover some of the places in our care that are closely associated with the suffrage movement.
What was the women's suffrage movement?
From its beginnings in working class unrest in mid-18th century Manchester through to the Representation of the People Act in 1918, the women’s suffrage campaign led to some British women being granted the right to vote - a right they had previously been denied.
Episode 1: The beginnings
In this first episode, Kirsty Wark learns about Manchester's 'Cottonopolis'. She tells the story of the mill owners of nearby Quarry Bank, the Greg family, and their suffragette granddaughter, Alice. Kirsty also sees some of liberal suffragette Laura McLaren's handwritten letters and speeches, from the collection at Bodnant Garden in Wales.Listen on mobile
Episode 2: The rise of the Suffragettes
This second episode shows the more hardline approach starting to be taken by the disheartened suffrage movement. Kirsty talks to staff and experts from Sugar Loaf mountain in Wales and Dudmaston in Shropshire, and shares the stories of the militant women who lived in these places. She also highlights the voices of those opposed to wider suffrage, including the female owners of Killerton in Devon.Listen on mobile
Episode 3: Anti-suffrage
The third episode explores the lives of powerful people who were against universal suffrage. Kirsty Wark learns about Margaret Elizabeth Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey, who lived at Osterley Park in London, and Lord Curzon, the owner of Kedleston in Derbyshire and a member of the House of Lords.Listen on mobile
Episode 4: The war years and the vote
In this fourth episode, Kirsty Wark steps back to 1914 and learns more about Madge and Helen Greg, two Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurses who grew up at Quarry Bank, near Manchester. Kirsty also explores the effect of the First World War on the quest for universal suffrage, as the House of Lords prepares to vote on the Representation of the People Act.Listen on mobile
Episode 5: The legacy
In the final episode, Kirsty explores the impact of social restrictions on who can vote. The mainly working class area of Quarry Bank in Cheshire provides the backdrop to learning more about these social divisions. She also hears about the formation of the Six Point Group, leading the charge for social and economic change and run by the Welsh suffragette, Lady Rhondda.Listen on mobile
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