SLHF Project on Suffragists


In 1906 over 400 Women Suffragists (and 10 men!) subscribed to a memorial to Priscilla Bright McLaren - the leader of the ESWS (Edinburgh Society for Women's Suffrage) for over 50 years. Many these subscribers were from Edinburgh and the Lothians, but many hailed from as far afield as Dundee, Aberdeen and the Borders. The story of these women who fought the "guid cause" from 1860 onwards is seldom told being overshadowed by the later "militant" suffragette movement. The Suffragists not only fought for women's suffrage, they also campaigned for black emancipation, against the Contagious Diseases Act (which allowed women suspected of having venereal disease to be detained, inspected and registered), temperance and other social issues.

The SLHF is proposing to embark upon a project to:

- transcribe the names and addresses from this unique list into a database (to facilitate search)
- provide interested local societies or individuals with the names and addresses of the subscribers in their area for "adoption" so that they can research the biographies of these dynamic ladies using local archives, census, wills and testaments, family papers and street directories. Living relatives may be traced and family recollections recorded along with images of surviving memorabilia. Support will be available from SLHF to individuals or societies wishing to embark upon this research.
- publish the results (including background detail) in a National Database of Suffragists accessible to schools, colleges and other interested individuals or organisations.

If you or your society would be interested in participating in such a project, please get in touch using the enquiry form on our website:

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