The “Votes For Women” Airship – 1909

In honor of International Women’s Day, a tribute to suffragist Muriel Matters and her “Votes For Women” airship.

"Votes For Women" airship of Muriel Matters

To bring attention to the movement for women’s suffrage, Australian-born Muriel Lilah Matters hired an airship to drop pamphlets over London in 1909 as King Edward VII made his procession through Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament.

Emblazoned with “Votes For Women” on the envelope, and with aeronaut Henry Spencer at the controls and Matters bravely in the basket, the 80-foot airship departed Hendon for Westminster on February 16, 1909.

The underpowered airship was blown off course by adverse winds and never reached Westminster — landing in the branches of a tree in Surrey instead — but Matters achieved her goal of publicity for the cause of women’s suffrage.

On this International Women’s Day, take a moment to listen to this wonderful 1939 BBC interview with the intrepid Muriel Matters.


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Joe May

Kudos for being socially topical…hard path with the airships.