Suffragettes chained themselves to railings, broke shop windows and blew up post boxes as part of their fight. They cut electricity lines, disrupted meetings and even bombed the house of a government minister.
It was a deliberate move into militancy preached by Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) which became known as the Suffragettes.
Hundreds of Suffragettes were jailed for their actions but they continued their protest in prison by refusing to eat.
Many were force fed, a harsh practice that ended in 1913 with legislation that allowed authorities to release hunger-striking women prisoners when they became too weak and re-arrest them when they had recovered.
While the Suffragette campaign attracted much publicity, Britain was not the first country to enfranchise women.
New Zealand led the way in 1893, followed by Australia in 1902, Finland in 1906 and Norway in 1913.
In the period between the two World Wars, women in more than two dozen countries acquired voting rights, including the Soviet Union in 1917, Germany in 1918, the United States in 1920, and Brazil and Thailand in 1934.
Other countries lagged, though, including France whose own Suffragettes -- influenced by their British sisters but without the militancy -- eventually gained the right to vote in 1944.
Switzerland took until 1971 and voting remains restricted for women, as well as men, in Gulf Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.