The campaign gained an even higher profile through the actions of the Women's Social and Political Union, formed in 1903 by mother and daughter Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst. The WSPU disrupted public meetings, broke shop windows, set post boxes and buildings on fire and staged noisy protests. When they were arrested, they went on hunger strikes.
The protesters often clashed with police and with the public. For example, at demonstrations outside the Houses of Parliament on 18 and 23 November 1910, there was violence and arrests. The police were accused of behaving with unnecessary brutality and the 18th became known as Black Friday. In 1913, the campaign stepped up and Emmeline Pankhurst was imprisoned for three years for her part in planning protests. On 4 June, Emily Davison was killed at the Epsom Derby.
However, protests were put aside as the women joined in the war effort between 1914-18. In 1918, women were able to vote in general elections for the first time.
For further information about how women gained the vote, see our exhibition on Britain 1906 to 1918