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The Derbyshire Link With The 1866 Petition

We have been trundling along getting up to speed with the necessary, but less exciting elements of the Project, finance, administration and web design etc. We need more if you have an interest in Women's History, and, or have some free time you need to fill, please look no further than Deeds Not Words....Be a part of the writing of our collective HERstory....

So, the last time we 'met' we were looking into the 1866 Petition.... In 1866, a group of women organised a petition to demand that women should have the same political rights as men. There had been an earlier petition on the subject in 1832.

Our research has not only uncovered a hard copy of the Petition, but, that, the names of 11 plus Derbyshire women are on the list!...How exciting is that! Nearly 1500 women signed the 1866 Petition, and of course many used pseudonyms and incomplete addresses. Women also moved around, and, so, although they may have been from/or living in Derbyshire at the time, if they had moved since signing we have limited ways of tracing them without investing a considerable amount of time and effort in doing so...but watch this space.

In 1866 the women took their petition to Henry Fawcett and John Stuart Mill, two MPs who supported universal suffrage. Mill added an amendment to the Reform Act that would give women the same political rights as men. The amendment was defeated by 196 votes to 73.

In the wake of this defeat the London Society for Women’s Suffrage was formed. Similar Women’s Suffrage groups were formed all over Britain. In 1897, seventeen of these individual groups joined together to form the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).

In Derby the NUWSS was a member of the Midlands (East) Federation of The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies. The Secretaries of the Derby Branch are listed as Miss Annie Brewer, Mickleover and Miss Bridget Martin, Darley Abbey Vicarage (1909) and Mrs Sowler. Field House, Duffield, Derbyshire. We will be investigating the stories behind each of these women further (Crawford, E, The Women's Suffrage Movement Reference Guide 1866 - 1928 1999, UCL Press London P.165). Thus far we have not found any sources which contain information on NUWSS branches in the County but this is something we aim to investigate further.

Source: British Library “Dreamers And Dissenters“

In the meantime, please see the names and locations of the Derbyshire women we were able to trace listed below in alphabetical order

Bishop, Margaret Chesterfield

Fox, Elizabeth Shakespeare Street, Derby

Jackson, Jane, Chesterfield

Lamb, Emma, Chesterfield

Lamb, Sarah, Chesterfield

Lindsell, Sarah Shakespeare Villa, Derbyshire

Loveday, Mary Anne New Street, Derby