This session examines the Suffragette movement from the perspective of Metropolitan Police and Home Office files held at The National Archives. These records reveal in fascinating detail some of the most extreme militant acts committed by suffrage campaigners in the early twentieth century.
Students begin by focusing on one Home Office file detailing the burning of the Bath hotel in Felixstowe. Correspondence between the Chief Constable's Office and the Under Secretary of State draws together letters, diaries, newspaper articles and eye-witness accounts. Students are guided through the process of analysing and interpreting this original source material and are encouraged to draw conclusions about the Suffragette movement as a whole. In particular, students consider who the Suffragettes were, the tactics they employed and how police, government and locals responded to the militant campaign.
Students then 'rummage' through other original Home Office and Metropolitan Police files to find other examples of militant activities and further develop their source analysis skills. They conclude by reflecting on the utility of using government files to draw conclusions about the Suffragette movement.
This session can be delivered as a