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The Woman's Press packing and despatch department

Searjeant, H.1911

Museum of London

Museum of London
London, United Kingdom

Packing and despatching Votes for Women at The Woman's Press, 156 Charing Cross Road, September 1911.  Financed and edited by Emmeline and Fred Pethick-Lawrence Votes for Women was first published in October 1907 as a monthly publication and quickly became the official voice of the Women's Social & Political Union. The newspaper as printed by St Clement's Press located close to WSPU headquarters.  From April 1908 Votes for Women became a weekly publication on sale every Thursday and was widely available at WSPU branch shops and retail newsagents including W.H.Smith and John Menzies. Many copies were also sold by brave Suffragette street sellers at risk of heckling from hostile members of the public.  Behind the editing, publishing and printing of the newspaper was a highly organised team of both salaried and volunteer staff who used the most up-to date printing, publishing and distribution practices and equipment.  Regular features in the newspaper included a diary of WSPU activities throughout the country and progress reports on the campaign. By July 1909 Votes for Women reported a weekly circulation of 50,000. This achievement was reported in the 9th July edition of the newspaper that also noted that, in London, the Kensington WSPU branch led the way with sales of 1,300 copies the previous week being sold either in the shop or by local volunteer street sellers. Other London branches recorded on average the sale of 500-600 copies for that week. Despite the achievements of the branches, however, the editorial regarded sales through newsagents to be the 'backbone of the circulation'. Members of the WSPU were urged to encourage friends to place regular orders with newsagents and canvas those not already stocking the newspaper to do so. Canvassing also included encouraging newsagents to display an advertising poster for the newspaper. The article concludes with the motivational message 'Remember, that increasing the sale of Votes for Women, you are taking the surest step towards building up the movement'.

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