Lily Maxwell becomes the first woman to vote in a parliamentary election

She voted for Jacob Bright (a Liberal) in a by-election for the Manchester constituency. She had been put on the registers by mistake, but her vote was not crucial as Bright secured a majority of around 2,000.  Accepting his election Bright spoke about Mrs Maxwell: ‘This woman is a hardworking, honest person, who pays her rates as you do, and therefore if any person should possess a vote, it is precisely such as she.’ (The Times, 3 Dec 1867). Several more women property owners in Manchester followed suit but Parliament put a stop to this the following year by declaring women’s suffrage illegal.