Records of the Women's Tax Resistance League

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of annual reports, leaflets and pamphlets.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Tax Resistance League (1909-1918) was established in 1909 with the aim of organising female resistance to taxation levied without any correspondent representation through voting rights. The organisation carried on a form of protest that dated back to 1870 when the Priestman sisters refused to pay income tax. The foundation occurred at a meeting held by Louisa Garrett Anderson that was attended by supporters of the Women's Freedom League including Cicely Hamilton and Dr Kate Aslam. By Jul 1910 the League had 104 members. Those who followed its principles, and whose actions extended to refusing to pay for certain types of licences, Inhabited House Duty, dog licenses, servants licences, etc were liable to have goods seized or be put in prison. House clearances by bailiffs were used as an opportunity to hold open-air suffrage meetings and the group was also involved in resistance to the census in 1911. The League held meetings in the premises of both the National Union for Women's Suffrage Societies and the Women's Social & Political Union, but overtures to many local organisations were refused due to opposition to the illegality of their actions. It held conferences in 1911 and 1912 and became part of the Federated Council of Women's Suffrage in 1912. At the outbreak of the First World War, an urgency committee ordered that the League's activities be suspended and a subsequent meeting of members confirmed this resolution, though the resolution was only passed by one vote. No more meetings were held until 1916 when they took part in the Consultative Committee of Constitutional Women's Suffrage Societies established by the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies in response to the government proposed changes to the national electoral register at the end of the war. A final meeting was held in 1918 after the vote was granted to women in order to officially wind up the organisation and dispose of its assets.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Gift

Other Finding Aids

Fawcett Library Catalogue.

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds the records of the London Society for Women's Suffrage (2LSW) which contain correspondence, leaflets and pamphlets with the Tax Resistance League. See also the Scrapbook of Press Cuttings relating to Tax Resistance (10/21).

The Women's Library Printed Collection holds pamphlets by the Tax Resistance League including campaigning literature such as 'Why we resist our taxes' by Margaret Kineton Parkes. See especially the UDC collection 396.11 : 336.2.

The Women's Library Museum Collections holds badges and postcards related to the Tax Resistance League and to the 'No Vote No Tax' procession 7 Oct 1911.