In the Tube station this morning I see a poster for the Museum of London, it shows a ‘votes for women’ image within a collage. I feel a small part of a zeitgeist.
I return to the archives and continue looking through the Serjeant at Arms reports.
I come across a particular report of the arrest of several women. What strikes me is their varied ages and how many different parts of the country they have travelled from. Once again I made a mental note that I must find a way to represent all women.
I also come across reports of Emily Davison’s activities – messages she left for Herbert Asquith, attached to chalk missiles. The notes have quite a menacing tone. I imagine she was a very direct and formidable woman.
Looking further into the archives, I see how over the period 1907-1914 the protests within Parliament seem to become more inventive. I’m drawn to the Women’s Freedom League’s ways of engaging with the building and the MPs. I can identify with these types of protests. I think that if I was to be around at the time I would be part of the WFL – they seem to be the creative strand of the movement.
One of the questions that goes around in my head as I see the many refusals by Asquith to see deputations of women is: How many petitions were put before the government before we got the vote? I ask Mari. She says no one knows, as the actual petitions are not kept, but there are records – and if I like I could find out. As I am just about to finish looking at the Serjeant at Arms reports, this seems a good place to go next. Mari shows me how to find the reports and what to search for. I order up my first batch of records for tomorrow. I’m excited to find out the answer.