Votes for Lichfield Women

Last night the Document programme on Radio 4 focused on an 1843 poll book for the election of an assistant overseer in St Chad’s parish, found at Lichfield Record Office. The book revealed that unmarried or widowed women from a range of backgrounds, including servants and paupers, were able to vote in this election, and the programme explores the significance of this in the story of voting rights for women.

The 1843 poll book in Lichfield provides evidence of women voting 26 years before the 1869 Municipal Franchise Act  and seventy five years before the Representation of the People Act in 1918.

For those who missed it, the half hour programme is now available on iPlayer here 

Thanks to Susan Ward, who spotted the programme (and also has her own Staffordshire based history blog here)

4 thoughts on “Votes for Lichfield Women

  1. Hello Kate .. hope you are well =) .. although not a comment on this post, but a question on your header picture .. is that the elusive ‘Shaw Lane hole’ ??.. its a great shot =) TTFN


  2. HI Simon It’s actually Lichfield Castle aka the remains of the tower behind the Bishops Palace!! I took it on a gorgeous sunny day last year.Sunny days….Will we ever see another ?!


    • I did one ages ago, but the general gist is that The Close was fortified (the above tower of course being part of this), and was described by some in the past as a castle. However there may possibly have been another castle, perhaps Anglo-Saxon and perhaps on Borrowcop Hill, as well. However, I think the majority of evidence seems to point to Lichfield Castle being the fortified Close. Other remnants include part of the old gateway just of Beacon St, the remains of a tower at the top of Dam St, the wall in the garden of Chapter’s Coffee shop and the tower and walls at St Mary’s House (btw Stowe Pool & the Cathedral). But you never know!


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