Auteur: Harrison, Shirley
Titel: Sylvia Pankhurst
Sub titel: The Life and Loves of a Romantic Rebel

The third daughter of Richard and Emmeline Pankhurst, Sylvia was undoubtedly the most complex and unconventional of the Pankhurst girls. Expelled from the Women's Social and Political Union by her mother in 1914, Sylvia continued to fight tirelessly for the rights of women and other repressed people all over the world. Born in Manchester in 1882, Sylvia grew up in a bohemian household that played host to great activists and artists such as Keir Hardie, George Bernard Shaw, William Morris and Thomas Mann. Sylvia's father, Dr Richard Pankhurst, was a militant feminist who jeopardised his own legal career in order to found the Manchester National Women's Suffrage Movement in 1865. He was a compassionate and visionary man, and Sylvia adored him; but sadly, in 1898, when she was just 16, he died in her arms.Sylvia inherited her father's unshakeable idealism, and this set her on a collision course with her mother and sisters. In 1914 she protested vehemently against the WSPU's support for the war effort. On her subsequent expulsion from the movement, she took over an East End pub and converted it into a maternity clinic, a Montessori school and a day nursery, renamed "The Mothers' Arms". She also founded a toy factory nearby to provide work for women left unemployed after the closure of local clothing factories.Up until his death in 1915, Sylvia was involved in an anguished love affair with Keir Hardie, co-founder of the Independent Labour Party. Wherever they travelled in the world, they wrote each other long, passionate letters about love, life and politics. Later, at the age of 47, Sylvia gave birth to a son, Richard Keir Pethick Pankhurst, who she brought up in the leafy London suburb of Woodford Green, together with the baby's father, the Italian revolutionary Silvio Corio. Corio ran their teashop, The Red Cottage, while Sylvia wrote and travelled.Sylvia finally made her home in Ethiopia, enthusiastically joining the people in their struggle for independence. On her death in 1960, she was honoured with a state funeral. Drawing on her journals, letters, writings and paintings, this is the story of her colourful life.
2003, 304 pag., Euro 34,75
Aurum Press, London, ISBN 1854109057

This page last updated on: 13-1-2015