Reappraising the Representation of the People Act, 1918

Day Conference on Friday 14th September, 2018, Livesey Building, Room 013, UCLan, Preston, PR1 2HE

2018 marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act (RPA). Passed in the last year of the First World War, the RPA enjoyed all party support, in recognition of the contribution to the war effort made by women and some working-class men, previously excluded from the franchise. Although the RPA still excluded women under 30, it tripled the electorate and transformed British politics into a representative democracy. The RPA and its legacy are still the subject of intense historical debate relating to gender, class and nationhood. As part of UCLan’s contribution to the centenary commemorations of the First World War, this day conference will draw together speakers who are currently involved in the debate.

The conference complements the exhibition Represent! Voices 100 Years On, held by UCLan’s long term partners, the People’s History Museum in Manchester between 2nd June 2018 to 2nd February 2019. Attendance is open to interested members of the public as well as academics. The provisional conference programme is as follows:

Welcome and introduction – Dr David Stewart (UCLan)

10.15-11.30 Panel 1

Professor Karen Hunt (Keele), Class and Adult Suffrage during the Great War.

Dr David Swift (Ben Gurion University of the Negev), Working-class Women of the Left and the Vote, 1918-1924.

11.30-12.45 Archives and working with communities session (People’s History Museum, Manchester, Lancashire Archives and Working Class Movement Library, Salford)

12.45-1.45 Lunch

1.45-3 Panel 2

Michael Reeve (PhD candidate Hull), The People’s Candidate?: Howard Gritten MP, anti-Germanism and the 1918 General Election in Hartlepool.

Dr Jack Southern (UCLan), ‘The misdeeds of a few women 200 miles away’: Local debates over Womens’ suffrage in the Northern English textile districts

3-4.15 Panel 3

Dr Julie Gottlieb (Sheffield), Marking Women’s Suffrage Anniversaries: From the 21st Birthday of Votes for Women to the Centenary

Dr Dan Weinbren (Open), Creating citizens: the communities which built democracy.

4.15-4.30 Summary – Dr David Stewart (UCLan).

The day conference is free with lunch and refreshments provided. Booking is required via


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