2017: Suffrage Tales

From 31 July to 4 August 2017, The National Archives ran an exciting new film project for 16-19 year olds with film-maker Nigel Kellaway.

Building up to the 100th anniversary commemorations of the Representation of the People Act in 2018, young people were given the chance to work with original records from our collections on the theme of Suffrage. Asking questions such as: What does suffrage mean? Who fought for suffrage in Britain? How did the government respond to those who campaigned for the vote?

The students explored earlier historical movements for reform and democracy such as Chartism in the 19th century; delved into records related to suffragists and discovered some of the personal stories of suffragettes revealed in our documents. The young people were also able to debunk some of the myths surrounding the struggle for suffrage and had the opportunity to put forward their own interpretations of our records.

Nigel offered guidance and support for the students as they made their own animated film based on their research.

Watch the finished film:

The project also led to the creation of an online lesson resource.

Students taking part in this project were able to:

  • research the history using original documents, with support from our Education Team and record experts.
  • work creatively with like-minded young people.
  • learn film-making skills from a professional from the industry
  • find out more about the role of The National Archives and the records we hold relating to the theme of suffrage
  • take part in a unique project that communicates stories from our documents.

Participating students said:

Yasmin: ‘I learnt and was rather shocked by the great resources available at the archives, which I previously was completely unaware of. I also met some really great people, and was fascinated by the history, since it was a completely different experience to learning within a classroom which was particularly great.’

Eva: ‘Its has really inspired me to carry on studying history and to perhaps find some work experience in an archive somewhere. It has also encouraged me to doing more creative and arty things since I realised how much I enjoyed it.’

Sholto: ‘Extremely fun and interesting, developing my skills in stop motion. I found the importance of patience challenging but blu-tac was my biggest saviour.’

Jon: ‘there are so few of them out there, even in film or history alone. So this project is really important as it merges both really well.’

Watch the finished film