Families and political allegiances
Women did not have the vote on the same terms as men until 1929, but, of course, that did not stop them adopting political allegiances from an early age. Families often shared party loyalties. Mrs Roper (b. Ipswich late C19th), was interviewed for an Oral History Project and was aware even as a little girl that she came from a Labour family:
‘We were Labour. I remember Mr Jackson, the Labour man. We all used to sing -
Vote, vote vote for Mr Jackson
Punch Dalrymple in the eye
For Jackson is a winner and
Dalrymple is a sinner …
In Ipswich, a swing seat in the C20th as now, many other families voted Tory. Mrs Finch, interviewed in the same Oral History Project as Mrs Roper (above) revealed her family allegiances:
Q Were your father [a manager at Packards] and uncle interested in politics?
A No - they were Conservatives. [no irony intended!]
Even though she said she knew nothing about politics, she did show an basic understanding of class structure:
‘I don’t understand politics. We were Conservatives. My husband’s people were Liberal. But this is really a Labour town – working class.’ (Mrs Finch., b. Ipswich 1896)
Children gather around Charles Masterman's election poster. He was the unsuccessful Liberal candidate for the Ipswich parliamentary seat in May 1914.
Not all families shared the same political opinions. Mrs Dumper (b. Ipswich 1927) remembered that her parents had very different views from each other:
'We took the News Chronicle which was Labour. It suited my father - who was Labour - but mother was a traditional Conservative. She used to tell us wonderful storied about going to Oakley Park Mansion when she was a child. She'd be allowed to go up into the gallery where there were balls with gorgeous music. She admired it all and was grateful to the Kerrison family.'
Of course, it was probably easier all round for daily life when everyone in the family pretty much agreed on politics - then as now.
Sources include Suffolk Oral History Project available through Suffolk Library and Paul Field's interview with Mrs Dumper in 2017