History KS3: Historical sources and interpretations of Emmeline Pankhurst

Sally Lindsay unearths a range of primary historical sources that reveal more about the life and work of Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of ‘votes for women’ campaign group the Women’s Social and Political Union - also known as the Suffragettes.

With descendants and expert historians, she discovers how original artefacts can be rigorously used to understand the contrasting arguments and interpretations of the women’s suffrage campaign and its leading campaigners, including Lydia Becker.

Sally takes us back into the heart of the movement to bring the period back to life with newspaper extracts from the time, medals and banners that the Suffragettes created for their marches, and even a voting register showing the first Manchester woman to ever cast a vote.

Teacher Notes

Students could begin the lesson by analysing a source about the suffragettes – what can they learn from the source? How is the source useful to them in finding out about women’s suffrage? What additional material would help them learn more about the movement?

When watching the video students could answer the following questions: Who was Lydia Becker and how was she portrayed in the media? What different types of evidence are examined throughout the clip? How does the evidence help us to understand the contrasting arguments and interpretations of the women’s suffrage campaign? Why do historians use a range of artefacts when examining the past?

Students could then be given a range of materials about the Suffragette movement which they have to use to produce their own mini-exhibition about the Suffragette movement - using only five of the sources they have been given – explaining why they would choose each item and how it would help people to understand more about the movement.

Or students could be asked to write a short article which examines the different ways in which the Suffragettes have been interpreted – by contemporaries of the time and today, 100 years on.

At the end of the lesson students could be asked to choose their favourite artefact/source material from the lesson and explain why they have chosen it.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching History at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 3rd Level in Scotland.