100 years of women’s suffrage: 100 blogs re Votes for Women 1866-1918

Blog 14:

The 1886 General Election resulted in a Conservative government which did not have an overall majority, so it had to rely on support from the Liberal Unionist Party (how history tend to repeat itself!). The LU’s demanded a bill which set up county councils for the first time. Women rate payers had been able to vote at Borough level since 1869 but from the passing of the 1888 Local Government Act they could vote at County level. And could become County Councillors. In January 1889  two women were elected as Councillors. These included Jane Cobden, daughter of popular politician Richard Cobden. She became a councillor in Bow & Bromley in the East End, which was to become a Sylvia Pankhurst Suffragette hot bed a little over two decades later. But legal challenges prevented Jane from ever taking up her post. There was still a long way to go.