Who was Christabel Pankhurst?
Christabel Pankhurst was an emminent suffragette
leader and daughter of the Emmeline
Date and Place of Birth:
22nd September 1880, Manchester, England.
Pankhurst was the eldest daughter of Dr Richard
Pankhurst a radical lawyer and Emmeline, a prospective Parliamentary
Candidate for the Independent Labour Party in the 1895 General Election.
Manchester High School.
Chronology/Biography of Christabel Pankhurst:
1882: Sister Sylvia
1889: Death of her
father Richard of a perforated ulcer.
1901: Meets Eva
Gore-Booth who was trying to encourage working women in Manchester
to join the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and is
so impressed with her work that she joins the movement also, closely
followed by her mother Emmeline
Pankhurst and her sister Slyvia.
of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in Manchester as
a breakaway to the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.
Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney are eventually jailed after
being thrown out for disturbing a Liberal Party meeting and “assaulting”
police officers. They refused to pay their fines.
1906: Mother Emmeline
Pankhust now organises the WSPU activities from London. Many marches
and rallies are held and the Liberal Candidates are targeted during
the elections. The women disturb Cabinet Meetings. The Daily Mail
newspaper sneeringly described them as Suffragettes but the movement
adopted the title with pride.
1907: (13th February)
Christabel amongst Suffragettes arrested in Parliament Square in
Pankhurst becomes known as "Queen of the Mob" and makes
protests at the Peckham By-Election.
1909: Receives her
third and last prison sentence, ten weeks in Holloway Women's Prison
after the so called "Rush Trial" at Bow Street in London.She
is such a celebrity that she is sculpted for Madame Tussaud's waxworks
1910: (18th November)
Pankhurst's and their followers try to get into the House of Commons
to see the Prime Minister Herbert Asquith to protest against the
dropping of the Conciliation Bill, which would have given votes
to women. The meeting breaks out into a riot as the women charge
police lines and over 100 are arrested.
Pankhurst takes part in a deputation to see Prime Minister Herbert
1912: The WPSU becomes
increasingly more militant under the influence of Christabel who
flees to Paris to avoid arrest, and arson attacks, window smashing
and vandalising works of art take place. Emmeline is arrested twelve
times during the year and serves a total of 30 days in jail.
1913: The so called
“Cat and Mouse Act is brought in. The Prisoners (Temporary) Discharge
for Ill-Health Act which means that hunger-striking prisoners can
be released until they are well enough to serve the rest of their
sentences to avoid the problem of force feeding.
1914: At the beginning
of the First World War Emmeline and Christabel call off their Campaign
to support the War effort and all suffragettes are released from
prison. She tours the United States, Canada and Russia to encourage
the mobilisation of women.
1915: The WPSU changes
the name of its newspaper from "The Suffragette" to "Britannia".
1917: The WSPU changes
its name to the Women’s Party.
1918: The representation
of the People Act gives the vote to Women over 30. Christabel stands
for Parliament in Smethwick, near Birmingham and is narrowly defeated
by the Labour Candidate.
1919: Becomes the
prospective parliamentary candidate for Westminster Abbey Division
but the campaign comes to nothing. Nancy Viscountess Astor becomes
the first woman to be elected to parliament in the constituency
of Plymouth after her husband moves up to the House of Lords. The
Pankhursts go on a lecture tour of America.
Pankhurst writes a series of articles for the "Weekly Dispatch"
Newspaper. She begins to turn towards religion.
1921: Goes to Canada
with Betty and Grace Roe in August. She starts to preach as an Adventist.
1922: Preaches at
the John Knox Presbyterian Church in Toronto. Publishes her first
religious book in New York, "The Lord Cometh". Starts
her second book "Pressing Problems".
1925: In January
Christabel predicts that the nations of Europe will be ruled by
a Dictator who will be the forerunner of the Antichrist at the Ascension
Mercurial Church in New York. Spends periods of time in Bermuda
writing works such as "The Worlds's Unrest" "God's
Remedy for Human Failure".
Pankhurst returns to London and addresses meetings in Bristol, Cardiff,
Birmingham. Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin Edinburgh and Glasgow.
1928: The amended
"Representation of the People Act" is passed a few weeks
after the death of her mother Emmeline
which gives the same voting rights to women as to men.
1929: Begins six
month tour of the USA and Canada. On the 8th December she attends
a memorial service for her mother in Washington.
1930: She is not
present at the unveiling of the statue of her mother in London by
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.
Statue of Emmeline Pankhust in Victoria Tower Gardens, London
designed by A.G. Walker.
There is a plaque to Christabel on the right and on the left
is a medal denoting the Women's Social and Political union
(© Anthony Blagg)
1931: She preaches
in the same service as David Lloyd George
at the Welsh Baptist Chapel in London. (September) Visits Winston
Churchill at his home at Chartwell in Kent.
most of her time in England with occasional tours to the United
1936: (1st January)
Appointed a Dame Commander of the British Empire. Lives a comfortable
existence from her income from her books and lectures and from money
from wealthy friends. She is the principal beneficiary in at least
three wills over the next few years from some of her admirers.
Pankhurst spends the last years of her life in or around Los Angeles
and withdraws from public life.
Date and Place of Death:
13th February 1958, Los Angeles, United States
of America, found dead of heart failure in her chair by her landlady
after giving a speech on her essay about her mother Emmeline
Pankhurst. (Rumours persisted that she had committed suicide).
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
Buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, United
States. A memorial service was held at the church of St. Martin's
in the Field, London.
Places of Interest:
Womens Library, Old Castle Street, E1 7NT.
Statue to Emmeline
Pankhurst in Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament.
Contains a plaque to Christabel on the right hand side.
Pankhurst Centre, 60-62 Nelson Street, Manchester,