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lilly becker

Lilly Maxwell or Lily Maxwell (c.1800 – 1876) was a British Scottish suffragist who was said to be the first woman to vote by campaigning suffragists in Manchester. This resulted in an important test case at the Court of Common Pleas.
Maxwell was born in about 1800. She owned a shop in Manchester and therefore she would have been able to vote if she was a man. Her name appeared on the list of voters for Manchester. She was not the first woman to vote but in this case she was encouraged by Lydia Becker to be a test case. Records show that women had voted in Britain including maybe thirty in Lichfield in 1843. These were women who owned property and led households like Maxwell. Maxwell ran a shop that sold a range of goods from crockery to red herring.The returning officer allowed Maxwell to vote at Chorlton Town Hall. Maxwell cast her vote for Jacob Bright who supported the suffragist cause. Becker encouraged 5,346 other female heads of households to apply for their names to appear on the electoral rolls. These claims were presented at the Court of Common Pleas by Sir John Coleridge and Richard Pankhurst in Chorlton v. Lings on 2 November 1868. The law was not clear as the relevant legislation did not include the word "male" but instead used the ambiguous term "man". The case ruled that women could not vote in British elections.Maxwell died in 1876 having been obliged to enter the workhouse.

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