Originally published 03/18/2013
Sarah Richardson is an Associate Professor in History at the University of Warwick and author of The Political Worlds of Women: Gender and Politics in Nineteenth Century Britain. She is the guest presenter of Document: Votes for Victorian Women which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this evening at 8pm.Occasionally, just occasionally, you encounter a document that radically changes your view of the past. This happened to me very recently. The source was just a few scraps of parchment in a box of solicitors’ papers in Lichfield. But, at a stroke, it provided me with tangible proof that Victorian women were not only eligible to vote, but actually exercised that right, some 75 years before they received the parliamentary franchise in 1918.