Power for the women of Hardwick?

Servants from Hardwick Hall sit out the front

As we mark the centenary of when some women were given the vote in England, we look at what this meant for those at Hardwick.

Who got the vote?

We start the story with the suffrage movement and its impact on Hardwick, a time when the Duchess Evelyn was lady of the house.

On the middle floor, using information from our archives, character cards carry the names and occupations of some of those that lived and worked at Hardwick. Take a card to find out more about them and whether they'd have got the vote in 1918.

Based on real people once at Hardwick, pick up a character card to discover who would have got the vote in 1918
Character cards for suffrage centenary 2018 on display at Hardwick
Based on real people once at Hardwick, pick up a character card to discover who would have got the vote in 1918

Cast your vote

In the Old Kitchen, cast your vote in one of our two voting booths. Over the course of the year we'll be posing a series of different questions on some of today's hot topics and sharing the results on social media. 

Taking precautions

In the dining room, learn how Evelyn's concerns about the suffragettes' militant tactics led to the creation of the fire pond in the grounds. Replicas of letters we've discovered alongside newspaper cuttings detail various events during this time and show the feeling of the Devonshire family.

There's also a short film which shows some key events from the time too.

Replica letters of Duchess Evelyn's shed light on her take on the suffrage movement
Replica letters on display from Duchess Evelyn of Hardwick
Replica letters of Duchess Evelyn's shed light on her take on the suffrage movement

Still to come...

We'll also be delving into Bess' status attributed to her wealth. Learn how she rose through the ranks to become the second most powerful woman in Elizabethan England, what her money was able to buy and what a savvy business woman she was. It's also the chance to take a closer look at some key items in Hardwick's collection, specifically the fascinating seadog table. 

Signage for Bess Wealth Power Status exhibition

Bess and her wealth 

Explore what made Bess one of Elizabethan England's powerful women