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Guest Simon Bull

The Pankhurst Family -- Split re the War

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Guest Simon Bull

I read with interest a review in today's Guardian of a book just published by Paul Foot called "The Vote: How it Was Won".

The review deals, inter alia, with the family split within the Pankhurst family in relation to whether the Great War was to be supported. Emmeline and Christabel became jingoistic patriots, extreme in their support of the War, whereas Sylvia and Adela (whom I must admit to having never heard of before) opposed the war.

Certainly, in relation to Sylvia, this is consistent with her very much more left-wing leanings than her mother.

It crossed my mind to wonder whether this division within the Pankhurst family was merely political or also private -- did the right wing and the left-wing factions of the family get along?

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BeppoSapone

I suppose that they were like most people. You choose your friends because you are stuck with your relatives!

One of the right wing Mitford sisters was a Communist, and didn't a kinsman of Winston Churchill volunteer for the International Brigade?

I did come across a reference to Sylvia Pankhurst being "done over" in Sussex in WW1. She, as spokesperson from ELF, and an Alex Gossip (of a Furniture makers Trades Union) were invited to Sussex to speak at an open air rally being held by "Horsham Council Against Conscription".

They were pelted with fruit and stones by a hostile crowd and police had to link arms and hold back the pro-war people while "Our Sylvia" made her. escape. I think the hostile reaction had a lot to do with the fact that the local TA Bn, 1st/4th Royal Sussex, had been in action, and the papers had interviews with local men in hospital.

By WW2, without looking anything up, Sylvia Pankhurst had, as a partner, an Italian Anarchist called Corrio. Wasn't Christabel so right wing that she was interned in Australia? So, I don't suppose they were often having "get togethers".

Re Christabel Pankhurst being interned. I think I read this somewhere, and no-one refuted it when I last posted the claim in this forum.

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Max

Hello Beppo

I have just done a quick Google and found this on Sparticus (whether it is accurate I don't know)

"In 1921 Christabel went to live in the United States where she became a prominent member of Second Adventist movement. Christabel lectured and wrote books on the Second Coming. Christabel returned to Britain in the 1930s but left for the USA at the start of the Second World War. Christabel Pankhurst died in the USA in 1958. "

Andy

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BeppoSapone

Thanks Max. I did read about her being interned on the net, but you know the net....

Maybe someone else has come across the claim?

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Max

I have just found this and it suggests that it was Adela Pankhurst who was interned in Australia during WW2.

"Adela Pankhurst (Walsh)

Anti-conscription activist and member of the Women’s Political Association in Victoria with Cecelia John and Vida Goldstein 1914 –. Pankhurst was organiser for the Victorian Socialist Party from 1917 and with her husband Tom Walsh, a foundation member of the Communist Party of Australia in 1920. The Walshes left the Party in 1925 and Adela Pankhurst formed an Australian branch of the British Guild of Empire. In 1937 with PR Stephenson she formed the anti-imperialist Australia First movement and advocated a trade pact with Japan as a means of averting war. The Walshes visited Japan in 1939 and Adela Pankhurst was arrested and interned in 1941–42 for her advocacy of peace with Japan. She had been a suffragette in Britain, her mother was veteran British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst."

http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/whoswho.a...rchType=keyword

Andy

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BeppoSapone

Thanks for solving the riddle Max.

Imagine the family get togethers, one sister a libertarian socialist, another a religious zealot and the third a pacifist/Empire Loyalist.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall :lol::lol:

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Max
Imagine the family get togethers, one sister a libertarian socialist, another a religious zealot and the third a pacifist/Empire Loyalist.

Sounds a little bit like one of our family get-togethers.

Andy

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Max

Thanks Robbie

I've just downloaded the files and at first glance they look very interesting.

Andy

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marina
Thanks for solving the riddle Max.

Imagine the family get togethers, one sister a libertarian socialist, another a religious zealot and the third a pacifist/Empire Loyalist.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall :lol::lol:

Amateurs beside the Mitfords - couple of Fascists, a communist and a Duchess!

Marina

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Rosemary Clarke
I read with interest a review in today's Guardian of a book just published by Paul Foot called "The Vote: How it Was Won".

Certainly, in relation to Sylvia, this is consistent with her very much more left-wing leanings than her mother.

Simon

Thank you for the alert re the Paul Foot book; I shall look out for that.

Sylvia Pankhurst, through her newspaper, The Women's Dreadnought, took up the case of young Private Abraham Bevistein, an East-Ender, who was executed for desertion at 17, in 1916.

The newspaper, of which I have a copy, carried a substantial front-page feature telling the story of his grieving family and publishing his final letters which told of his difficulties.

It makes for moving and disturbing reading byt demonstrates the interest Sylvia Pankhurst took in such matters and presumably, helped fuel her opposition.

Rosemary

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Guest Simon Bull
Exciting news. All the files of Sylvia P's criminal convictions etc are now available free to download from PRO

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/releases/2005/january18/

There are 5 pdf files.

Robbie :P

Have read part of these files. They make disturbing reading. Basically, Sylvia Pankhurst was being imprisoned for what she said and thought not what she did. By modern standards her conviction would almost certainly be regarded as breaches of fundamental human rights.

I find it quite odd that when I studied constitutional law and we looked at some of the, frankly, repressive case law from between the wars we did not have these cases drawn to our attention. I suppose it was because, for whatever reason, she did not appeal her conviction to the higher courts.

She was a brave lady who certainly had the courage of her convictions.

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Guest Simon Bull
Exciting news. All the files of Sylvia P's criminal convictions etc are now available free to download from PRO

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/releases/2005/january18/

There are 5 pdf files.

Robbie :P

Have read part of these files. They make disturbing reading. Basically, Sylvia Pankhurst was being imprisoned for what she said and thought not what she did. By modern standards her conviction would almost certainly be regarded as breaches of fundamental human rights.

I find it quite odd that when I studied constitutional law and we looked at some of the, frankly, repressive case law from between the wars we did not have these cases drawn to our attention. I suppose it was because, for whatever reason, she did not appeal her conviction to the higher courts.

She was a brave lady who certainly had the courage of her convictions.

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BeppoSapone

That's 'the Law" for you! :D

During WW1 men were legally entitled to become Conscientious Objectors.

However, most of those who tried it ended up in work camps, or in prison on bread and water, and scores of them died. :angry:

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robbie
Robbie :P

Have read part of these files. They make disturbing reading. Basically, Sylvia Pankhurst was being imprisoned for what she said and thought not what she did. By modern standards her conviction would almost certainly be regarded as breaches of fundamental human rights.

I find it quite odd that when I studied constitutional law and we looked at some of the, frankly, repressive case law from between the wars we did not have these cases drawn to our attention. I suppose it was because, for whatever reason, she did not appeal her conviction to the higher courts.

She was a brave lady who certainly had the courage of her convictions.

Yes Simon, I agree. She was a member of the Communist Party wasn't she? such treatment here, in the US and in Oz continued right through the 50s with McCerthism in the US, the Petrov affair in Oz..etc etc..On another point, i love Doris Lessing's books. She and her husband were also members of the Communist Party here in England.

Robbie

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spike10764

There was a book I've read about Sylvia Pankhurst . The Home Front by E Sylvia Pankhurst.

Reginald McKenna MP,Chancellor of the Exchequer in a private interview, tells her on Registration Sunday Aug 15th 1915:-

"The War must be paid for- its cost has been greatly underestimated"

"Why not nationalise the coal mines" she replies,

"What ! in a War!" he protests,

Why do you not take all income above what is required for a simple comfort-say £500 a year, or £2 a weekfor an adult and £1 or 10s for each child"she asks,

"Rich people would not submit" he smiles,

"Would they prefer to submit, or give up the war?". An uncomfortable silence follows.....

She sounded quite a gutsy lady.

She spent a lot of time working for the poor in the east end during the war- fighting their cases for money to help ease the burden of the fact their men were in France fighting. Bureaucracy, then, as now, was a hurdle many of the poorly educated fell at when trying to get their rights.

She also fought for the right for pensions for the bereaved. She was not afraid to put many powerful people on the spot, if necessary, and, was prepared to go to jail for her cause.

I'm sure her rift with other members of the family was never healed.

You need people who are prepared to stand up in times like the War- just to maintain the balance

Link

Edited by spike10764

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larneman

Saw on www.abebooks.com and thought it might be of interest.

***********************************************************

Sylvia Pankhurst: a Crusading Life 1882-1960 (ISBN:1854109057)

Harrison, Shirley

Great Britain: Aurum Press, 2003.

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, Thomas Mann and Annie Besant. 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.

*****************************************************

Interesting?

Liam

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BeppoSapone
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,

Interesting, but funny at the same time. The Italian revolutionary Silvio Corio ran a teashop.

Did they drink "Comrade Grey" tea :D:D

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