When it was announced a little while ago that we're to have a general election on December 12, those of you wearied by three and a half years of endless bickering over Brexit may well have recalled the wise words of Brenda from Bristol.

"You're joking - not another one!" she exploded, when told about the 2017 election.

If you are appalled at the prospect of another whole month of politicians promising voters the Earth while bickering and backstabbing amongst themselves in an attempt to get a foot up on the greasy pole of electoral success, it may be worth taking a deep breath and reminding yourself how precious is this thing called the vote.

If you don't believe us, take a look at our photo from 1914. It shows suffragettes gathering to protest outside Buckingham Palace and being forcibly retrained by the police. Their crime? To claim that women deserved the right to vote just as much as men...

The right to vote for our political leaders which we take so much for granted today has only been won comparatively recently.

Before the Great Reform Act of 1832, only a tiny proportion (something like three per cent) of people in the UK had the right to vote - to be precise, men over 21 who owned large amounts of property and land.

After 1832, the proportion of people who could vote gradually began to increase - but still, all women and many working class men were excluded. In 1867, another reform gave the vote to working class men living in cities, but not in rural areas; and in 1884 the vote was extended to all men over 21 who were house owners.

Women, however, had to wait until 1918 to get the vote - and even then, they had to be over 30. Universal suffrage - which gave the right to vote to all men and women aged over 21, whether they owned a house or not - only arrived in 1928.

So while you may be fed up of politicians at the moment, just remember how lucky we are to be able to vote them in and out of office. Not everyone in the world is so fortunate, even today...

To get you in the mood for December 12, we've dug out a few photographs from elections past. And, because democracy sometimes involves voting for things other than your next MP, we've included examples of a couple of other types of votes, too...

Our photos show:

1. Police restraining a demonstrator as suffragettes gathered outside Buckingham Palace in 1914. Suffragettes campaigned vigorously in the early 20th Century to gain the right for women to vote, and one - Emily Wilding Davison - actually died in 1913 when she threw herself under the King's horse at the Derby. Leading Suffragette Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst spoke at two public meetings in York, in April 1911 and October 1912. In the absence of social media to advertise their cause, suffragettes took to scrawling messages in chalk on the pavements of York. One disgruntled resident wrote to the Yorkshire Evening Press to complain: "On Saturday morning about eight o'clock, I saw two women chalking something on the pavement," he wrote. "My curiosity led me to look and to my surprise, I found it was an advertisement that Mrs Pankhurst was to speak in York. Now, Mr Editor, why should women be allowed to advertise in this way and deface the pavement? If a poor tradesman... did this, the police would very soon be on their track."

2. You may feel jaded by politics, but in the 1964 election, a campaign visit by Prime Minister Alec Douglas Home drew a big crowd in King's Square. Home's Conservatives narrowly lost to Labour under Harold Wilson.

3. Democracy in the workplace: York postal workers vote to strike in 1971

4. More workplace democracy: a miner casts his vote at Stillingfleet Mine in a ballot on strike action in 1983

5. June 1987: The Conservatives' Conal Gregory celebrates victory in the election and begins a second term as York MP. "This is a victory for Mrs Thatcher," he said.

6. A woman leaves a polling station at the Parish Room in Bolton Percy after voting in the 2009 local and European elections. We won't be able to do that for much longer...

7. Labour's Hugh Bayley talking at a hustings at the Friends Meeting House in York during the 2010 general election. It is the expression on Liberal Democrat candidate Christian Vassie's face (centre of picture) that we love...

Stephen Lewis