Constance Andrews

Constance Andrews

WFL Organizer



160 Norwich Road, Ipswich.



Constance, a former music teacher, was instrumental in founding the Ipswich branch of the Women's Freedom League (WFL) in 1909. She was Honorary Secretary for the Ipswich branch and by 1911, she was also Honorary Organizer for the East Anglia area. The WFL played a central role in orchestrating the suffrage boycott of the government census survey in 1911, and Constance ensured that Ipswich played its part in the boycott. Constance evaded the census with her sister Lilla by sleeping not at Lilla's family home where they lived with Lilla's husband and sons, but at the Old Museum Rooms (by then a dance hall) in Arcade Street on the evening of the 2nd April when the census official called. Probably because Constance was so well known locally, the census official was aware that as suffragists, the females of the house were likely sleeping at another 'unknown' location writing his suspicions across the census form. Constance was responsible for organizing the mass evasion at the Old Museum Rooms which involved about 20 local people including the sisters servant who evaded with them, sleeping over there for the night (see census image attached). Shortly afterwards, Constance wrote a press report about the evasion at the the Old Museum Rooms - 'the storm centre' of the Ipswich movement. The night was a 'real joy' with various disguises worn in case of intruders, and ghost stories recited later in the evening (Suffolk Chronicle, 7 April, 1911). Later that year, Constance was arrested and spent a week in Ipswich prison for refusing to pay her dog licence (or a subsequent fine) as part of a wider suffragette ' no vote no tax' scheme. Risking imprisonment (as Constance had also done by evading the census) and being imprisoned, was a life changing decision for suffrage campaigners. Being classified as criminals potentially ruined their future lives and reputations. Thus, this sacrifice was publicly acknowledged by suffragette society's like the WFL. Upon Constance's release from Ipswich prison, the president and founder of the WFL Charlotte Despard was there to meet her along with crowds of well wishers from the town. Constance was then whisked away to a celebratory meal and reception. Her tireless work for the WFL kept Constance busy and in the following years she relinquished her role as Secretary of the Ipswich branch to her sister Lilla, so that she could travel up and down the country promoting the votes for women cause. Nevertheless, Constance found time in 1914 to visit home and tell her Ipswich friends about her travels. Ever active, Constance was also involved with the Trade Union and Labour Movements. Sources: Jill Liddington, Vanishing for the Vote: Suffrage, Citizenship and the Battle for the Census (Manchester: 2014); Joy Bounds at


160 Norwich Road, Ipswich.png
Pratt census Ipswich GBC_1911_RG14_10803_0139.jpg
1 Old museum rooms census GBC_1911_RG14_10812_0167.jpg
2 old museum rooms census GBC_1911_RG14_10812_0169.jpg
Andrews arrest clipping the vote june 3 1911.png
andrews release from prison (joy Bounds) Picture-015.jpg



“Constance Andrews,” Mapping Women's Suffrage, accessed November 21, 2019,

Output Formats

Item Relations

This item has no relations.

working in partnership with