Museum of London visit London Academy to explore ‘Votes for Women’

Recently the Museum of London visited our Yr. 7 and 8 and some Yr. 9 students. The museum has developed a play to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act.

As the play opened it explored several themes with the students particularly some of the key factors which caused the suffrage movement to develop. They focused on Emmeline Pankhurst who’s first-hand experience witnessing how working class girls and women were treated convinced her that the suffrage movement was the only option to change the situation.

The format was a ‘play within a play’; Shelley a school girl from London plays a young Victorian servant, Maisie, is in her school’s play on women’s suffrage. The play follows both Shelley (in the modern day) and her character Maisie (in Victorian London). As Shelley and the cast rehearse the play, the students learnt about the other characters. In addition to her school play, Shelley had to deal with pressures from her friends and family many of which are issues facing young women today. Whilst rehearsing the play she learns how to balance those relationships.

The students found the play interesting and gave them a fascinating insight into the different values and ideas of Victorian England many of which sharply contrasted with what they experience in London today.