Petitions were one way in which the general population could make sure that their views on particular issues were heard in Parliament.
Petitions had been presented to Parliament in favour of women's suffrage as early as 1832, when Mary Smith presented a petition requesting limited women's suffrage.
They were presented to Parliament with increasing regularity from 1866 onwards, when John Stuart Mill presented a petition with 1499 signatures to the House of Commons.
The first petition in favour of women's suffrage to come specifically from Birmingham was presented in the 1867/1868 session. It contained 905 signatures. From this date onwards, petitions from Birmingham were regularly presented to Parliament.