An in-depth history of the fight for women’s rights over a century in one English city. Struggle and Suffrage in Chelmsford is a comprehensive account of what life was like for women in Chelmsford, England from 1850-1950. It takes the reader on an in-depth and interesting journey, starting from when a woman, as far as both the law of the land and certain elements of society had decided, was worthless with little or no rights. With the birth of women’s suffrage movements gaining recognition on a national level during the latter years of the nineteenth century, the book looks at how this affected the lives of women throughout Chelmsford. The story continues in to the twentieth century and the years of the years of the First World War, which was without question a major turning point in women’s suffrage. The book explores what women achieved throughout the war, in the jobs they undertook and the voluntary work they carried out. It was a time that provided women with freedom and power the likes of which they’d never known before. Attitudes towards divorce and how they changed over time are also discussed—from being a religious stigma around the time of the First World War, to being a life choice in the much more promiscuous times of the Second World War, by which time latex male contraceptives had been available for about twenty years. An informative and fascinating read, Struggle and Suffrage in Chelmsford provides a compelling and moving account of the lives of the town’s women throughout this turbulent era.
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