Sylvia's Suffragette Shop


Sylvia's Suffragette Shop

This is where Sylvia Pankhurst's shop was.

Location: 198 Bow Road, Bow, London, E3 2SJ

Description: Sylvia Pankhurst and her American colleague, Zelie Emerson, took over a baker's shop here opposite Bow Church, and in October 1912 set up the first East London branch of the Women's Social and Political Union.

The sign on the front read in gold leaf: Votes for Women. George Lansbury's son Willie Lansbury arranged for wood from the Lansbury wood factory to be used to build a wooden platform outside the shop and from which Sylvia would address the passing crowds.

I regarded the rousing of the East End as of utmost importance.... The creation of a woman's movement in that great abyss of poverty would be a call and a rallying cry to the rise of similar movements in all parts of the country. (Sylvia Pankhurst quoted from In Letters of Gold)

The shop is long gone but the site on which it was built is now being developed as a garden by Wilfred Housing Cooperative with a view to some memorial or commemoration to Sylvia.

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Sylvia's Suffragette Shop

This is where Sylvia Pankhurst's shop was.

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Sylvia's Suffragette Shop

Two points. Firstly I have seen the outside of quite a few of the WSPU shops from contemporary photos and have a good sense of how they must have appeared to passers by. But I have no sense of what the inside of such shops looked like. Secondly it is interesting that a working class area, like the East End, took almost until WW1 before a WSPU shop was opened there. It should have been their first priority! Thanks for the link, Hels, Art and Architecture, mainly (Hels)
Posted by Hels on 2009-12-11

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