Organised by the Women’s Freedom League (WFL), supporters of women’s suffrage decided to boycott the 1911 census as a form of civil disobedience and passive militancy. Believing that taxation without representation was a form of tyranny, the WFL encouraged all suffrage societies to participate in the boycott through evasion - avoiding the notice of the enumerator - or resistance - refusing to provide information.

The 1911 Scottish census reveals precious evidence of the boycott. The enumerator noted individuals who refused to provide information as ‘Suffrage Protestors’. Notable records include a returned census schedule with ‘no votes for women, no information from women’ written at the top. Other evidence can be found in the letter book concerning the 1911 census that contains letters from individual registrars relating to their attempts to administer the census (archive reference: GRO6/380/16).

Below are a selection of transcriptions from these letters.

The wealthy widow, Edinburgh Ethel Moorhead, Dundee The Partick and Mount Florida Seven The uncooperative hotel guest in Skye The WSPU HQ in Dundee The Dundee Detective watching The WSPU Cafe Vegetaria, Edinburgh The census evader, West Kilbride