Friday 23rd May 2014

One of my final archive days to find out the total number of petitions.

Coming towards the final years leading up to 1918, the entries for all petitions drop off massively – a sense through the pages that the country was dealing with war.

The books are thinner and lots of empty pages – it only takes me a couple of hours to go through a decade. I feel sad that I won’t be visiting these books again. I’m just getting to understand how much more they are saying through the disrupted rhythms of entries, tucked away supplements and the rise and fall in petition numbers that had been steady for decades.

What happened in 1909? One huge anti-suffrage petition: 337,018 signatures.

Then another two big anti-suffrage petitions in 1911, (53,553 signatures) and 1912 (51,425 signatures.) Is it a backlash from the suffragettes and the force-feeding?

So, a quick tot up total number of petitions from 1866 to 1918 to gain the vote:

16,433 with a total of 3,609,162 signatures!

Now I know. I text my best friend Hilary – I wanted her to know first, but I get a sense its only me that cares right now and this has been my own journey through these books.

Image of a published petition

Petition from George Lansbury regarding £1000 fine for speaking in support of women’s suffrage, 16 August 1913. Parliamentary Archives, HC/CL/JO/6/969

This afternoon it’s the open day at the Supreme Court – Melanie has told me to watch out for the glass and the carpets.

Well you couldn’t miss the carpets, that’s for sure. They are so loud! I actually LOL’d. Peter Blake what have you done? It works really well – but takes no prisoners!

Photo of Peter Blake carpet

Peter Blake carpet, Supreme Court. Image: Mary Branson

Photo of glass in Supreme Court

Contemporary etched glass and lighting design, Supreme Court. Image: Mary Branson


Large etched glass sculpture in court 2. I’m interested in the symbolism to represent the Union. Image: Mary Branson

Come back on Tuesday 30 August 2016, when Mary visits the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Gardens…