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Sylvia Pankhurst - A Maverick Life

This talk explores Sylvia Pankhurst's impact on the world stage long after the crusade for women's suffrage had been won.

George Bernard Shaw declared, ‘There are only two opinions about her. One was that she was miraculous. The other that she was unbearable’. In this talk, Shirley Harrison looks at the life of Sylvia Pankhurst, a prominent campaigner in the suffragette movement but who continued to make an impact on the world stage long after the crusade for women’s suffrage had been won. Campaigning for women and workers, Sylvia Pankhurst was also an important figure in the communist movement and keen supporter of Haile Selassie, and is the only foreigner to have been given a state funeral by the Emperor of Ethiopia.

Shirley Harrison is an author and former journalist who was born and brought up in Woodford in Sylvia Pankhurst's time. As a child, she was advised by her parents to avoid Miss Pankhurst, instilling a curiosity that lasted decades, until she finally decided to research and find out who their controversial neighbour really was. Her biography of Sylvia Pankhurst was published in 2004 and written with unique access to the Pankhurst family and previously unseen documents.


Shirley Harrison | talks


Date and Time:

11 March 2008 at 7:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Bishopsgate Institute
230 Bishopsgate
020 7392 9200

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£7, concessions £5; advance booking required

Available from:

Call 020 7392 9220 between 9.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Additional Information:

Bishopsgate Institute is two minutes walk from Liverpool Street station.

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