Killerton House launched its ‘Votes for Women’ exhibition, marking the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act and Jill Glazier and myself were fortunate to be invited to an early viewing, (luckily before the snow came down).
This critical period in history caused deep divisions within Killerton House when Eleanor Acland declared as an avid suffragist, whilst her Aunt Gertrude was vehemently against the movement.
The downstairs exhibits bring to life the feelings and divisions that must have been rife. Using personal letters from prominent players, historical documents and photographs and the reconstructed dining table setting this period of conflict is cleverly captured.Upstairs the ‘fashion, femininity and right to vote’ costume collection continues to expand the theme, providing an insight into what was worn and the effect it was perceived to have on the wearers. The wedding dress of Eleanor Acland and gown of Queen Victoria being special highlights. Clever interpretations of the period are further displayed through skilful exhibits from the Exeter students.
“Votes for Women’ gives a thought provoking reminder of the heated conversations and bitter conflict taking place 100 years ago, not only within the Acland household but throughout the country.