The year 2018 marks the centenary of the first UK general election in which some women were entitled to vote. We celebrate that fact by looking back at some memorable elections and exploring how electioneering has changed over the years.
Before the first Reform Act of 1832, few people could vote and powerful aristocrats could sway the results. Papers from the disputed Cumberland election of 1768 reveal stories of coercion, bribery and corruption. Printed ballads and posters give a flavour of the songs and spectacles which attended elections in Nottingham in the early years of the 19th century.
Personalities feature heavily in the exhibition. The 4th Duke of Newcastle is shown opposing the Reform Act, and fiercely criticizing his own son’s election campaign in South Nottinghamshire in 1846. Discover the fascinating story of James Morrison, the wealthy MP for Nottingham East lauded as ‘the friend of the poor’. And learn about the suffragists and suffragettes who campaigned for equal voting rights in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Using original archives and rare books, this exhibition will illuminate 250 years of political campaigning.