The worker’s husband

Workers husband - front

Front text:

The worker’s husband.

Lady Canvasser. Have you a vote, Mr. Brown?

Loafer. ‘Course I got a vote, and shall have so

long as my wife takes in washing.


Printed and Published by the Artists’ Suffrage League,

259, King’s Road, Chelsea.    


This card focuses on a dialogue that takes place at a polling station between a ‘loafer’, Mr Brown, and a ‘lady canvasser’. One has the right to vote and the other does not.

  • The woman (the ‘canvasser’), is depicted as educated and refined as indicated by the speech, posture and the books she is carrying;
  • The man (the ‘loafer’, i.e., an lazy person who avoids work) is more roughly dressed, and seen as slouching against a door with his hands in his pockets; he also uses less refined grammar in his speech.

The Reform Act of 1884 extended the number of men who were eligible to vote to ‘all adult householders and men who rented unfurnished lodgings to the value of £10 a year’ (History Learning Site). The loafer then, despite not being employed, was presumably able to maintain lodgings to this value due to his wife’s work. This is in stark contrast to the smart canvasser and the working wife, neither of whom had the right to vote.

This postcard was published by the Artists’ Suffrage League. It has no initials or name of an artist. A copy is available online at the Women’s Library and in the collection of a suffragette, Alice Hawkins.


Verso message:

I shall be in until Thursday.. Can you come over for the day after Tuesday or Wednesday. Let me have a PC.

I hope by now your face is better. Have you heard what date the meeting will be. Let me know directly you hear as I have several over here that will come. Daddy’s collars have come back. With love H.

Sent to: Mrs A Parke, 38 Brownhill Road, Catford

9 PM FE[B] 6 [19]10. Beckenham


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s