Autumn Study Day: Fashion, Femininity and Power at Killerton, DevonBook online

Saturday, September 15th

On February 6 2018 we mark 100 years since the first Act passed in Parliament granting women the right to vote in the UK. This year the Autumn Study Day is planned to coincide with the National Trust's celebration of the centenary of the Representation of the People Act (1918) which granted the right to vote in parliamentary elections to all men over 21 and women over 30, subject to certain qualifications.

Killerton is a National Trust countryside estate in Devon, 7 miles North of the lively city of Exeter and easily reached by car or a combination of public transport. 

This year Killerton offers a brand new installation as part of  the Women and Power programme. Votes for Women? features the story of two generations of the Acland family who were connected with the Killerton estate: Gertrude Acland who supported the Anti-suffrage League, and her nephew's wife, Eleanor Acland, a Liberal suffragist.

The annual fashion exhibition drawn from the Killerton dress collection will mirror the timeline of the campaign for women's suffrage. Highlights include a walking dress worn by Queen Victoria ( anti-suffrage), a gown by Nicaud of Paris made for Eleanor's 1905 wedding, and the 'parliamentary suit' worn by Nancy Astor when she became the first woman elected to Parliament to take up her seat in the House of Commons (1919), as well as WSPU (suffragette) memorabilia and dress of the period.

There will also be a touring exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery featuring paintings of important figures associated with the long journey towards the Vote.

The theme of the Study Day will be dress and politics in the broadest sense.  There will be an opportunity to attend talks linked to the theme during the morning, with a chance to view all three exhibitions and take a closer look at some objects from the stored collections. The full programme will be confirmed in due course. 

Dr Becky Munford is Reader in English Literature at the University of Cardiff, she will introduce us to her project with the university's Library and Archive 'Women in Trousers'. Amy Towle is Assistant Exhibitions Officer at Cosprop.  She will speak about the W.S.P.U. and the politicisation of dress.  Other speakers and a full outline of the day to be announced shortly.  

Book now via Eventbrite by clicking on the link.

Find out more about the exhibitions at Killerton here:


NB Admission to the exhibitions at Killerton is free to members of the National Trust, but non-members will have to pay an admission fee to the property which includes entry to the house, park and garden. There is a small extra charge for the car park. 


  • John Tenniel, ‘Woman’s Emancipation by a strong-minded American Woman’,Punch, 1851. Special Collections and Archives, Cardiff University.
  • Detail of embroidered satin gown by Nicaud, Paris, 1905 (The Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter)