Suffragettes100: Revealed - Camden’s 19th century suffragist pioneers

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 February 2018

Millicent Fawcett, who founded the National Union of Women's Suffrage, speaks at the Suffragette Pilgrimage in Hyde Park.

Millicent Fawcett, who founded the National Union of Women's Suffrage, speaks at the Suffragette Pilgrimage in Hyde Park.


Nearly 100 women from Camden and the surrounding area signed the national petition.

More than 50 years before women were given the right to vote, Liberal MP John Stuart Mill presented a petition to Parliament in favour of women’s suffrage.

In the end, the petition submitted on June 7 1866 featured more than 1500 names from across Britain and overseas.

Records recently published by Parliament to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the Peoples Act shows nearly 100 people from Camden signed the petition.

They included Frances Buss, who went on to found Camden School for Girls, Emily Davies who co-founded Girton College at Cambridge University, the first college in England to educate women, and Henrietta Le Breton, daughter of Philip, an early campaigner for the preservation of Hampstead Heath.

The petition also featured Mrs Kenrick of 9 Dorset Place, who was a member of the executive committee of the Ladies’ Association for the Education of Women for the Medical Association, now the Medical Women’s Federation.

In St John’s Wood’s Carlton Hill East, Gertrude King was a member of the Kensington Society and later became secretary of the Society for the Employment of Women.

The society later became Futures for Women, and is still going today.

Further afield, the signature of Millicent Fawcett, who went on to campaign for universal suffrage, was on the petition.

It was the second petition of its kind, but women still had to wait another 52 years before getting the vote.

Even in 1918, only women who met certain property qualifications were allowed to cast a ballot.

It wasn’t until 10 years later that universal suffrage was passed.

The original petition handed to Parliament wasn’t kept, however two copies survived, which Parliament have used for their records.

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