2018: The Story So Far…
The Pankhurst Trust has had quite a remarkable start to 2018, taking its place right at the heart of the nation’s centenary celebrations of the first women achieving the right to vote.
As part of this we have put in place an active media campaign to not only mark this historical Vote100 moment, but to also raise awareness of our plans to secure the future of the Pankhurst Centre. Our vision is to transform our small museum into a place that truly fulfills the legacy of the suffragette movement and tells of the ongoing quest for equality. To do this we need to match fund to support the bid we will be making to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The year got off to a wonderfulstart with a full-page article in The Guardian on 1 January about the funding needs of the Pankhurst Centre and its importance to the nation. This was quickly followed by a report on 4 January on BBC Breakfast that told of the centenary and the Pankhurst Centre’s role within this.
We had great media attendance for our fabulous centenary party on 22 January, which Julie Hesmondhalgh joined us for and which really embodied the spirit of the year that will unfold. The evening was beautifully summed up in this piece by Viva Magazine.
Lots of the activity was based around the 6th February to coincide with when the legislation was passed giving the first women the vote. You cannot imagine how many times the phone has rang and how many interviews we’ve done!
In the build up to this period we took part in a series of short films with Granada TV and a feature with the Manchester Evening News that helped to emphasise not just the historical importance of the Pankhurst Centre but its ongoing relevance today. And we’ve been working with magazines such as Stylist, Lancashire Life, Britain and Discover Britain on feature stories and to ensure everyone knows about our exciting events programme.
Then the big day arrived. On 6 February TV viewers and radio listeners woke up to the story of the Pankhurst Centre, with BBC Breakfast, Good Morning Britain, BBC 5 Live, Sky News, BBC North West and BBC Radio Manchester just some of those carrying stories. Over lunch and tea the Pankhurst Centre was part of the Vote100 story across all the major channels, including the BBC 6 O’Clock News. And as the day closed, people went to bed having heard about the Pankhurst Centre on ITV’s News at Ten.
One of the particular highlights for the Trust was the fact that Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour relocated its studio to the Pankhurst Centre from where it broadcast its programme live on 6 February. Jane Garvey and guests, who included our chief executive Gail Heath, sat engaging the nation in conversation on issues of equality for women from the parlour of 62 Nelson Street which echoed of how Emmeline Pankhurst hoped to reach the nation’s ear when she gathered women in the same setting for a meeting that was to form the WSPU.
History was also made on the 6th with a visit from Prime Minister Theresa May. That it was a female Prime Minister visiting the former home of Emmeline Pankhurst and the birthplace of the suffragette movement where she was also able to meet Helen Pankhurst, Emmeline Pankhurst’s great grand-daughter, added significantly to the poignancy. You can read more about this private visit in a piece featured in About Manchester.
The 6th February was also a day to celebrate the launch of Helen Pankhurst’s book, Deeds Not Words, which we did with an open house party that was packed with supporters. Ros Wynne Jones wrote a fabulous piece for the Mirror that really captured the night, including a Thunderclap on twitter that brought together millions at 8pm, the exact moment 100 years ago that the legislation was passed.
We’ve also been a part of some of the major TV programmes that will tell the story of women’s suffrage in the coming months. This includes a BBC North West documentary Emmeline Pankhurst: The Making of a Militant.
With International Women’s Day on 8 March and lots more planned including the development of the Pankhurst Garden we hope that the interest in the Pankhurst Centre will encourage supporters to donate to our campaign. The simplest way of doing this is through our Just Giving page.