Visible Women

This immersive experience allows you to see what life was like as a suffragette

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Carly-Ann Clements
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Step into the suffragettes’ London headquarters at Suffragette City.

This year marks a century since the Representation of the People Act was passed and more than 8 million women were awarded the right to vote in the UK. To celebrate the women who trailblazed the way to gender equality, the National Trust and National Archives have created Suffragette City – an immersive experience that allows you to get a taste of life as a Suffragette activist in London. 

Inspired by records held by The National Archives, Suffragette City focuses on Lillian Ball, a dressmaker and mother from Tooting, south London. Like many women of the time, Ball – who was arrested and imprisoned for smashing a window in 1912 – was a normal woman facing life-changing decisions which eventually led her to join the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) to fight for equality.

Joe Watson, creative director for the National Trust in London, says: “The compelling story at the heart of Suffragette City unearths the stark choices facing those who engaged in that endeavour, and encourages our audience members to step into the shoes of suffragette activists.”

To help participants understand the choices Ball and other inspirational women of the era made, the WSPU headquarters, a tea room and a police cell have been recreated for you to walk around and interact with. 

The experience has been designed by production duo O’Neill/Ross – who produced and designed Secret Cinema until 2013 – using source material from The National Archives, including documents from the Home Office, Metropolitan Police and the Cabinet, plus pamphlets and letters seized in the raids on the WSPU’s headquarters.

By attending, you will have the opportunity to read a replica suffragette newspaper while sampling a ‘cup of Edwardian milk punch’, get a lesson in jujitsu, join a suffragette sing-a-long or get a deeper experience of life as a suffragette by going on a secret mission with actors leading the way.

“The suffragettes were living through a really difficult moment and we want people to connect with that and understand that and the decisions that would lead people to join the WSPU, commit an act of militancy, what would make people do that,” Emma King, a project co-ordinator at the National Trust, told the Evening Standard.

Suffragette City takes place at London Pavilion from Thursday 8 March to Sunday 25 March, and costs £18.50.

Throughout 2018, Stylist is raising the profiles of brilliant women past and present – and empowering future generations to follow their lead – with our Visible Women campaign. See more from Visible Women here.