Votes for women?

Two Killerton women campaigned on opposite sides of the debate for women's votes. Discover their stories and find out more about the campaign for women's suffrage. Part of the Women and Power programme.

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which empowered some women by giving them the right to vote in British parliamentary elections. The centenary is being celebrated in 2018 across the National Trust through its Women and Power programme. Killerton is playing a major role in telling the story of the campaign for women’s suffrage (the right to vote in elections).

Votes for Women? a new exhibition in the house

An intriguing suffrage story has been unearthed involving the Acland family which forms the core of a new exhibition in the house. The Aclands were a family divided over the question of women’s suffrage as Eleanor Acland was a leading suffragist campaigner in direct political opposition to her anti-suffragist Aunt Gertrude.

These two Killerton women campaigned for opposing sides. Gertrude and her husband Charles Acland hosted an Anti-Suffrage garden party at Killerton, and quotes and reports from this event will give us a great chance to explore the arguments against giving women the vote. Eleanor was a suffragist. She exchanged letters with suffragette Christabel Pankhurst in which she was critical of the suffragettes’ violent tactics, fearing they would undermine the suffragists’ lawful campaign.

You can follow Eleanor and Gertrude’s stories through the downstairs of the house before visiting the exciting new fashion exhibition which continues the suffrage theme upstairs. Visitors will be encouraged to vote on issues of the day in special polling booths, and if you’ve got an opinion you can’t keep to yourself then please make use of the soapbox in front of the house.

Branded: fashion, femininity and the right to vote.

‘A curious characteristic of the militant suffragette movement was the importance it attached to dress and appearance’…

Now that the roof is fixed, the fashion collection is back and directly linked to the story downstairs, as it explores the use of fashion by the suffrage campaign. Objects and costumes on display will showcase the fashion of the suffrage campaign era, and show how fashion was made political by the suffragettes. 

Women for fought for suffrage

Women and Power: Exploring women’s history at our places 

Explore the lives of those who fought for and against women's suffrage as we mark 100 years since some women were granted the right to vote. Uncover the previously untold stories of the women who helped shape our places with exhibitions, art installations, podcasts and more.