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A Corner in the Ladies' Gallery

After the mass campaign for women's suffrage began in the 1860s, suffragists sat up there to watch debates on votes for women. The Ladies' Gallery was high above the Speaker's Chair, with a very poor view because of the steep angle and the grilles covering the windows. It was small and cramped, and the grilles made it very hot, stuffy and unpleasant.

A steady stream of complaints were made, and questions continued to be raised in the House, to no avail; in 1902 it was claimed that the grille was necessary to formally place women outside the Chamber during debates, and only the House could order its removal. Not everyone agreed the grilles were bad; in 1908, the Commissioner of Works claimed that 'the majority of ladies who use the Gallery do not object to the grille.'