Young New Zealand: “Oh Grandpa! What a funny old machine. Why don’t you get one like mine?”
Printed and Published by the Artists’ Suffrage League,
259, King’s Road, Chelsea.
This postcard utilised the popularity of bicycles to contrast the voting rights in Britain with the more progressive approach in a British colony. New Zealand had in fact given women equal voting rights in 1893, the first country to do so. The reference to youth was because NZ had been declared a dominion within the British Empire in 1907 (BBC New Zealand profile, 2014).
In the image, John Bull’s bicycle has the text ‘Male electors only’ on the large front wheel and ‘Women’s municipal vote’ on the much smaller rear wheel indicating the small progress made in women’s voting rights; the NZ bicycle wheel has ‘Male and female. Equal electoral rights’ on its two equally-sized wheels. The old fashioned penny farthing or high wheel bicycle ridden by John Bull was contrasted with the more modern bicycle ridden by a youthful New Zealander. On his blog post about the rise in popularity of cycling, Martin Plummer also points out that the young NZ woman is depicted riding with one hand in her pocket, suggesting considerable mastery of her bicycle. This postcard is featured on another interesting site by a historian of women’s cycling, Sheila Hanlon, who writes about the connection between cycling and women’s suffrage in the UK.
The ‘Young New Zealand’ postcard was designed by Joan Harvey Drew (JHD) and published by the Artists’ Suffrage League. There is a copy of the postcard at the Museum of London as well as on the cycling sites already listed by Sheila Hanlon and Martin Plummer.