U6 student Sam Pickup represented Sheffield in the Historical Association’s Great Debate in the Palace of Westminster recently. The debate, which was the national final, was on the topic of whether ‘The 1918 Extension of the Franchise was the most important moment in British democratic history?’ This Act of Parliament extended the vote to women for the first time in British history in the wake of the First World War. Travelling down to London in order to represent Sheffield, Sam argued that, despite the importance of the franchise extension, it was instead the ending of the English Civil War and the execution of Charles I by the Parliamentarians under Oliver Cromwell that holds the most significance in our democracy’s history.

The debate consisted of twenty-three speakers – all presenting the different interpretations which they had researched. These interpretations ranged from the Magna Carta all the way to the advent of modern mass media. Although Sam did not win he performed admirably on behalf of the school and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.