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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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The King's Speech: Jessie Stephenson Parachutes Into Manchester

The King's Speech: Jessie Stephenson Parachutes Into Manchester

(p.97) 9 The King's Speech: Jessie Stephenson Parachutes Into Manchester
Vanishing for the vote

Jill Liddington

Manchester University Press

Manchester remained ‘suffrage city’, and needed a regional WSPU organizer. Jessie Stephenson, a great admirer of Emmeline Pankhurst, was dispatched north. Her job included looking after the stellar suffrage speakers who arrived in Manchester ~ like Laurence Housman. She also had to persuade one of the city's most influential men, C. P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian, to cover WSPU activities in his newspaper. Not an easy job. Then on 6 February 1911, the King's Speech was read to the House of Commons. Its omission of women's suffrage was the trigger for the WFL to publicize its census boycott plans. Speakers and writers like Laurence Housman were now even more in demand. But the boycott publicity quickly provoked fierce opposition. Professor Michael Sadler of Manchester University lambasted the WFL: ‘to boycott the Census would be a crime against science’ ~ that is, against social science and the accurate collection of data on which to base future reforms. Battle was joined.

Keywords:   Housman, Manchester, Guardian, Crime, Science, Battle

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