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Vanishing for the voteSuffrage, citizenship and the battle for the census$
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Jill Liddington

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719087486

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719087486.001.0001

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Annie Kenney's Bristol and Mary Blathwayt's Bath

Annie Kenney's Bristol and Mary Blathwayt's Bath

(p.154) 14 Annie Kenney's Bristol and Mary Blathwayt's Bath
Vanishing for the vote

Jill Liddington

Manchester University Press

Bristol was the city where regional WSPU organizer Annie Kenney was based; further out, the elegant spa towns of Baths and Cheltenham were suffrage strongholds. And just outside Bath in imposing Eagle House lived suffragette Mary Blathwayt and her parents. All three Blathwayts wrote daily diaries, offering a rare foot-soldiers’ view of census weekend. Mary herself joined the mass evasion at Lansdown Crescent in Bath, organized by the WSPU. Back at Eagle House, her parents complied with the census ~ and her mother's diary is a rare account of a woman complier. The most daring evader in the Bristol region was Lillian Dove-Willcox, who headed south-west into rural Wiltshire. She spent the night in a caravan somewhere near Salisbury Plain. Her evasion went up from the local enumerator, to the registrar and right up to the top Whitehall civil servant. Meanwhile in Bristol itself, Annie Kenney talked up the census boycott to the local press. She even boated of a caravan, turned into an ‘ark of refuge from the flood of census questions’, driving over Clifton Suspension Bridge. But what does the evidence of the Bristol census schedules tell us now about the real extent of the boycott across the city?

Keywords:   Kenney, Blathwayt, Diaries, Caravan, Evidence

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