No Vote No Census photo

…I begged her not to interfere with me in the performance of my duty and told her I would listen only to her father, and that I would go whenever he asked me. Then she ran off to another room and almost instantly returned with a large brass bell which she kept constantly clanging to drown my voice while I was endeavouring to make myself heard to her father… 

From an enumerator’s report to the Registrar General following a fraught encounter with Dundee Suffragette Ethel Moorhead, 1911

In this week’s Open Book podcast, researcher Ruth Boreham tells us about her research into the 1911 Census using National Records of Scotland records and archival documents.

The 1911 Census was seen by suffragettes and suffragists as an opportunity to protest against a government that refused to grant them the parliamentary vote, despite decades of campaigning.

Women were urged to boycott the Census by spoiling papers, by refusing to give information or by avoiding their usual residence – and they did, in towns and cities all over Scotland.

Speaking at General Register House earlier this month, Ruth tells us about her most interesting discoveries, including some entertaining stories that reveal both the irreverence and the determination of the women’s suffrage movement in Scotland.

You can download the podcast here as well as on iTunes and other podcasting platforms, and step back in time to the year 1911 – an era of political ferment, when the air rang with the cry: No Vote, No Census…

Ruth’s talk was given at General Register House on 20 August 2018 and we’ve included some selected images from it, below.

Our Scottish Suffragettes exhibition Malicious Mischief? is free to visit on weekdays between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm at General Register House, Edinburgh, until 31 August.

Image: (Top) Winston Churchill interrupted by bell-ringing protestor during a speech in Dundee.

NUWSS poster
NUWSS poster, c.1909-14
Anti suffrage posters
Anti-Suffrage cartoons, 1900s
Suffragette march Edinburgh
Women’s Suffrage march on Princes Street, Edinburgh, October 1909.
1911 Census Cathcart
Extract from 1911 Census returns for Cathcart, Glasgow
1911 Census Argyll and Bute
Extract from 1911 Census returns for Argyll & Bute


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