1898: One of women’s suffrage’s most important and ardent male supporters, Richard Pankhurst, died. He had been involved in winning the vote for women at local level and drafting the Married Women’s Property Act (see previous blogs), drafted the first women’s suffrage bill (the Women’s Disabilities Bill), established the National Society for Women’s Suffrage and together with his wife Emmeline had formed the Women’s Franchise League.
Richard was greatly mourned in his home city of Manchester. It was eventually moved to build a memorial hall to him (more of this in later blogs).
He left a wife, three daughters and a son. The Pankhurst children had been brought up as little adults rather than children per se, and had been instilled with an independence of spirit and the knowledge that women were as important as men. Following Richard’s death, his widow devoted to herself to campaigning.
It was the beginning of something extraordinary.