I took interest in studying the history of feminism during my final year at University. The module Feminism, Politics, and Social Change in Modern Britain began my interest in this topic. Being able to pursue this further in an archive project has hugely impacted the way in which I understand the history of feminist activism, particularly by looking into the lesser-known experiences of working-class suffragettes. I have enjoyed being challenged by the seeming lack of resources regarding the stories of these suffragettes and being able to make them visible to others.
During the project, my main focus has been on researching primary and secondary material. Using secondary literature has helped me find different sources to find information on working-class suffragettes, particularly ones I would not have thought of before such as the British Medical Journal, Parliamentary Hansards, and Old Bailey trial records. Following this, I have searched for names and information on working-class suffragettes and relevant images where possible. Doing this, my focus has been to construct detailed lines of events of working-class suffragettes which are engaging and meaningful to readers.
I have immensely enjoyed the challenges this project brings to a researcher of history. Finding a working-class suffragette and piecing together their story is very rewarding. I have also enjoyed searching for nuanced and creative platforms to find images of suffragettes, such as secret Criminal Record Office images, which are photographs taken of suffragettes while in prison to identify them more easily in future militant events. I am also looking forward to which directions this project will take, becoming a lasting historical resource for staff and students interested in this topic.