In August 1819 at least a dozen people were killed demonstrating for the right to vote at St Peter’s Fields, Manchester. Nearly a hundred years later, in 1903, the Pankhurst family, disgusted with the Independent Labour Party’s refusal to allow women to use the newly-opened Pankhurst Hall in north Manchester, founded the Women’s Social and Political Union to campaign for the right of women to have the vote in parliamentary elections.
What had been a sedate pressure group, willing to stay within the law to change the law, soon became hostile and aggressive. The suffragettes disrupted a Liberal Party rally in the Free Trade Hall in 1905 and two of their leaders – Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney – were jailed. Manchester had become Suffragette City, but it took a generation and many thousands of broken windows for women to secure the vote.
This walk by Ed Glinert is in memory of the Pankhursts – Emmeline, Christabel and Sylvia – fierce campaigners, resolute radicals, recalling their haunts and outlining their struggle. And also in tribute to Emily Davison, who died after falling beneath the hooves of the King’s horse at the Derby in June 1913.