Women’s history is internationally celebrated in March, so what better time to look at the documents held at Hampshire Record Office recording some contemporary commentary relating to suffragettes.dsc_1873

The papers archived here for the Bonham Carter family reveal an insight into the views held on votes for women.  Amongst the papers we hold for this family is a  letter from Edgar Bonham Carter writing to his parents from Khartoum on 26 April 1913 (reference 38M49/G4/9/26), where he comments on activities of suffragettes and believes women should have the vote.


The opposite view though was held by Sibella Bonham Carter, expressed in a letter to her son Maurice Bonham Carter (reference 94M72/F976).  In the letter she refers to the explosion at Lloyd George’s villa attributed to suffragettes (20 February 1913).


And again to Maurice, “Oh dear oh dear the Suffragists, what can one do? I feel so ashamed of my sex! I confess I hate politics in any form for women at present tho’ if they can only be trained in self-control and also to work with men in a business way, they can be most useful. After all what do men refuse us? Often I think they are too kind”.


The archives also hold, in another collection, a picture of a lady referred to as ‘Aunt Lewie’ (Olivia Lewin Cobb) at Little Hawsted, Steep, reading ‘Votes for Women’ (reference 74A00/25), dated 21 April 1911.


So if you want to explore the history of women in Hampshire or indeed any theme, then take a look at our online catalogue on our website at http://calm.hants.gov.uk/ and start exploring!

One thought on “Women in the archives

  1. I’m not surprised to learn that Edgar Bonham-Carter supported women’s suffrage. He was well-known for his common-sense approach to justice in the Sudan, where he drafted and implemented the Sudan Penal Code from 1899-1917. These laws in an amended form remained in force until shari’a laws were introduced in 1983.

    Liked by 1 person

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