Central Committee of the National Society for Women's Suffrage

In November 1871, Jacob Bright suggested at the annual general meeting of the Manchester Society for Women's Suffrage that greater pressure could be applied on members of the House of Commons by establishing a Central Committee for Women's Suffrage in London. The first meeting of this new group was held on 17th January 1872. The first executive committee included Caroline Ashurst Biggs, Frances Power Cobbe, Priscilla Bright McLaren, Agnes Garrett and Lilias Ashworth Hallett.

Lydia Becker, secretary of the Central Committee for Women's Suffrage (1897)
Lydia Becker by Elizabeth Smyth Guinness (c. 1880)

In 1874 the Central Committee introduced a yearly subscription fee of one shilling. This enabled free admission to all meetings. New members in that year included Millicent Fawcett, Florence Nightingale and Harriet Martineau. In 1881 Lydia Becker became secretary of the Central Committee for Women's Suffrage. Other members of the executive committee included Helen Blackburn, Jessie Boucherett, Frances Power Cobbe, Millicent Fawcett, Eva Maclaren, Priscilla Bright McLaren, Helen Taylor and Alice Westlake. In 1900 Dorinda Neligan, the headmistress of Croydon High School for Girls (1874-1900) joined the organisation.