Our women's suffrage podcast series presented by Kirsty Wark

Download and listen to our new Women and Power podcast series exploring the stories behind key characters in the suffrage debate. In this five-part series we lift the lid on our archives to uncover the seldom-told stories of maids, mill-workers, politicians and even royalty, who fought and campaigned to help shape the world we live in today.

Presented by journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark, the podcast series visits some of our places most closely associated with figures in the suffrage movement. The campaign led to some British women being granted the right to vote, a right they had previously been denied.

From the beginnings of working class unrest in mid-18th century Manchester through to the modern day impact of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, these five episodes unveil the history behind the movement. They tell the largely untold stories of campaigners, for and against suffrage, and the tales of determination and sacrifice which often accompanied them.

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Subscribe to the series on iTunes and never miss an episode

Join us as we mark 100 years since some women gained the right to vote, with our Women and Power programme of exhibitions, talks and events.

Archive image of 3 women in Styal village

Episode one: 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 to episode one on Soundcloud Listen now
A suffragette meeting from 1906

Episode two: 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, south Wales and Dudmaston, 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.

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George Curzon, Rudyard Kipling and Octavia Hill

Episode three: 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, West London, and Lord Curzon, the owner of Kedleston, Derbyshire and a member of the House of Lords.

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Kirsty Wark stands in front of the Houses of Parliament

Episode four: The War Years and getting 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.

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Kirsty Wark stands in front of a suffragette statue

Episode five: The legacy 

In the final episode, Kirsty Wark 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.

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Make sure you don’t miss an episode by subscribing on Apple podcasts or wherever you find great audio. While you’re there, you might also enjoy episodes of our flagship audio programme, the National Trust Podcast. New instalments of each series can be received by subscribers automatically.

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