A Century After This Suffragette Was Imprisoned, A Letter Was Found That Revealed A Hidden History

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Image: LSE Library via BBC News / Bain News Service

Annie Kenney was a leading activist for the right of women to vote in the U.K. She lived a challenging life in the duty of her cause, too, suffering many significant ordeals for her beliefs. After one such incident, however, Kenney wrote a letter to her sister. And now that the message has been discovered over a century after it was written, it provides a fascinating and unique document of that time.

Image: David Dixon

In 1868 the Free Trade Hall in the English city of Manchester was the site of the U.K.’s first open meeting to discuss the topic of women’s suffrage. Among the speakers at the event was scientist Lydia Becker, who was backed by barrister and women’s rights ally, Dr. Richard Pankhurst.

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Image: Matzene

And Dr. Pankhurst would later have another link to the suffrage movement. You see, in 1879 he would marry a young woman by the name of Emmeline Goulden. Goulden in turn would take her husband’s name and so become known as Emmeline Pankhurst – one of the foremost and most famous proponents of women’s voting rights in the U.K.

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