The East London Suffragette Festival took place between 1 and 10 August 2014 and included talks, workshops and entertainment celebrating Sylvia Pankhurst and the East London Suffragettes and exploring several themes:
- Feminism and other equality campaigns
- Protest, politics and activism
- Hidden histories, especially women’s, working class and migrant voices
- Celebrating East London today
We aimed to:
- Celebrate and raise awareness about the East London Federation of Suffragettes and the work of Sylvia Pankhurst
- Build awareness and support for contemporary women’s rights and equality causes and campaigns
- Promote East London’s vibrant history, culture, social business and activism
- Raise money for and raise the profile of the wonderful Newham Action Against Domestic Violence
- Bring communities together by celebrating shared local heritage
- Have fun!
We were proud to work with:
- Newham Bookshop
- For Books’ Sake
- Four Corners Film
- The Sylvia Pankhurst Trust
- East End Walks
- Tower Hamlets Community Housing
- Friends of Meath Gardens
- Bow Idea Store
- G KELLY, Roman Road Market
East Enders of WWI Exhibition
Tower Hamlets Community Housing are commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War by hosting an exhibition showing the faces and stories of many young people who lived or worked in Tower Hamlets when the war broke out, including the East London suffragettes.
See photos of the suffragettes’ activities in Bow and learn about their remarkable wartime work.
9.30am - 4.30pm Mon-Fri Free
Tower Hamlets Community Housing, 285 Commercial Road, Stepney, London E1 2PS
Friday 1 August:
Women’s Activism Film Night
An evening of extracts and shorts focussing on images of women’s struggle, political activism and filmmaking.
The first half of the programme presents extracts of films about women’s activism in east London and beyond. The second half will screen a series of short films made in the spirit of the Suffragettes.
7pm £4 / £2
Four Corners, 121 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 OQN
Saturday 2 August:
Explore Tower Hamlets WWI Archive
A day of talks, stalls and refreshments to launch Tower Hamlets’ WWI commemoration.
- Michael Berlin (Birkbeck, University of London) will speak on ‘Pacifism in the East End during World War One’
- Borough Archivist Malcolm Barr-Hamilton will highlight aspects of the collections relating to World War One
- Author Sarah Jackson will speak about the remarkable wartime work of the East London Federation of the Suffragettes (speaking at 1pm)
Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, 277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ
Sunday 3 August:
Meath Gardens History Picnic
Join us for a Sunday afternoon picnic in beautiful Meath Gardens. Learn about the history of the park (formerly Victoria Park Cemetery) and its creator Fanny Wilkinson - the first woman landscape gardener in Britain!
Meet at the entrance arch on Bullard’s Place (map: https://goo.gl/maps/DYAbA) From there we’ll walk a short distance to a good picnic spot or an alternative indoor venue if it’s raining. Please bring a towel or blanket to sit on and food to share!
1pm – 3pm Free
Wednesday 6 August:
Minnie Lansbury 1889-1923: Forgotten champion of East End women and workers
Minnie Lansbury (nee Glassman) was the child of Polish Jewish immigrants, who in her short life was a school teacher, suffragette, campaigner for the victims of war, communist and rebel councillor. She died aged only 32, weakened by a six-week prison spell as one of thirty councillors who refused to collect excessive rates in the impoverished London borough of Poplar.
Janine Booth, author of Guilty and Proud of it: Poplar’s Rebel Councillors and Guardians 1919-1925, tells the story of this remarkable woman, celebrating her memory and taking inspiration for present-day struggles.
6.30pm – 7.45pm Free
Bow Idea Store, 1 Gladstone Place, Roman Rd, London E3 5ES
Sat 2 - Fri 8 August:
Suffragettes, Sisters and Struggles
An exhibition of radical posters of women’s activism from various sources, including the See Red Women’s Workshop.
10am to 6pm, not open Sunday or Wednesday Free
Four Corners, 121 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 OQN
Saturday 9 August:
Festival Main Event
At the heart of our festival was a free day of talks, workshops and performance about history, equality, and east London, taking place at historic Toynbee Hall on Saturday 9 August 2014. We collected tweets from the day into a Storify: https://storify.com/elsuffragettes/east-london-suffragette-festival
- 10.15 - 11 am Who were the East London Federation of the Suffragettes? Talk by historian Rosemary Taylor
- 11.15 - 11.30 am Speech by Laura Pankhurst, great granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, and a few words from Paul Isolani Smyth, great nephew of suffragette photographer Norah Smyth
- 11.45 am - 12.45 pm Hidden Histories. Panel discussion exploring the stories that don’t get told and why, and sharing strategies for bringing them to light. Chaired by Susie Symes, Chair of 19 Princelet Street, with speakers: Matchwomen’s Strike historian Louise Raw www.louiseraw.co.uk, ‘Lascar’ author Shahida Rahman www.shahidarahman.co.uk, Women’s suffrage movement historian Kat Gupta http://mixosaurus.co.uk/
- 12.45 - 1.30 pm A Suffragette in the Family (No BSL). Hear fascinating family stories and chat to descendants of the East London suffragettes. Steve Warren and Miranda Brennan.
- 1.45 - 2.15 pm Poetry by writer Chiméne Suleyman (No BSL) chimenesuleyman.tumblr.com
- 2.30 - 3.30 pm Tackling Domestic Violence in the East End. Looking at what domestic violence is, what help is available, and the specific challenges of tackling it in East London. Speakers: Bridget Symonds from Jagonari, Musarat Rashid from Newham Action Against Domestic Violence.
- 3.45 - 4.45 pm Taking Action. Panel exploring different approaches to campaigning for change. Chaired by Lee Webster, Head of Policy and Influencing at Womankind Worldwide, with speakers: Anti-FGM campaigner Nimko Ali from Daughters of Eve, Trade union activist and writer Huma Munshi humamunshi.wordpress.com
- 10.30 am - 12.30 pm Storytelling workshop from For Books’ Sake. For Books’ Sake, the women’s literature webzine, presents a storytelling workshop based around the narratives of the Suffragette movement. We will look at letters, novels and songs, to explore the recurrent themes and find ways to emulate or subvert them through our writing. All are welcome, beginners or experiences writers, and materials are provided - just bring your imagination. Drop-in.
- 2 - 3.30 pm Children’s storytelling from London Dreamtime. Professional storyteller Vanessa Woolf will be telling stories inspired by London history and folklore, and featuring fearless heroines and daring girls.
- 3.45 - 5 pm Film workshop. Got something to say? Join our workshop for tips and advice to help you use video to make your voice heard.
Main hall and courtyard:
- Short suffrage plays and speeches from the Methuen Drama Book of Suffrage Plays, performed by theWoodhouse Players and friends
- Newham Bookshop book stall, with books about the suffragettes, the Matchwomen’s strike, feminism, radical politics and local history
- Craft table - add a square to our radical quilt! Plus suffragette-themed colouring sheets for kids
- Feminist Library stall, with information about their collection and feminist zines to buy
- Stalls with information about local groups and equality campaigns including Newham Action Against Domestic Violence, Age UK East, Positive East, Care International UK, 50:50 Parliament Campaign
- Facepainting 12-4pm ish
- Refreshments - soft drinks and home baked cakes and biscuits 11am - 4pm ish
- Jumble sale - second hand clothes and sparklies for sale 11am - 4pm ish
Sunday 10 August:
Sisters, Rebels, Freedom Fighters: Walking in the footsteps of the East London Federation of Suffragettes
Join us on this history walk to find out who the East London Federation of Suffragettes were, what they believed in, how they won support for their ideas, and everything they achieved.
11am −1pm. Meeting point outside the Crown Pub, corner of Grove Road, Old Ford Road, E3 5SN (ends near Bow Road station).
Free/voluntary donation but please book your place!
With historian, writer and tour guide, David Rosenberg of East End Walks
Sunday Lunch at G. KELLY’s on Roman Road
Join us for a special Sunday lunch at G. KELLY, Roman Road Market. For less than a fiver enjoy delicious pie and mash, a cup of tea or coffee, and three fascinating short talks about food in the East End:
- Harriet Payne will talk about the history of street food in London, from the Romans to the present day
- Sue Vening, the current owner of G. KELLY, will talk about the history of the shop which has been run by her family since it opened in 1939
- Sarah Jackson will talk about how the ‘cost price’ restaurants opened by the suffragettes in WWI to keep the East End fed
G.KELLY, 526 Roman Road, Bow, London, E3 5ES
Bev Alcock, Nimco Ali, Vivian Archer, Sylvia Ayling, Pamela Bason, Nick Bason, Michael Beddoes, Clare Bogen, Janine Booth, Jax Braithwaite, Lily Brandhorst, Miranda Brennan, Nell Brown, Coral Bryan, Sara Chambers, Amelia Clark, Amy Clarke, Michaela Clarke, Andy Coleborn, Matt Collins, Susan Croft, Katherine Davies, Rosie Dickinson, Siobhan Dodd, Richard Dorrell, East End Community Foundation, Feminist Review Trust, Anil Godigamuwe, Nick Golding, Dr Kat Gupta, Andy H, Gary Haines, Greg, Howard Hardiman, Claire Harding, Karen Hart, Tom Hartney, Jo Harvey-Barringer, Miss V Hendricks, Rowan Hill, Naomi Holford, Sara Huws, Vicky Iglikowski, Ed Ingold, Paul Isolani Smyth, Janice Jackson, Molly Ketchum, Deepika Kumsy, Michael Lefevre, Sarah Lesniewski, Cathy Love, Kristina MacDonald, Carla Mitchell, Huma Munshi, Christa Norris, Livy Oakley, Oddsocks, Laura Pankhurst, Dr Helen Pankhurst, Harriet Payne, Krys Plucinsky, Oliver Powe, Shahida Rahman, Musarat Rashid, Dr Louise Raw, Samantha Riddle, David Rosenberg, Ayana Sankey, Sign Studio, Charlotte Simpson, Anthony Smith, Steve, Barbara Stretch, Chimene Suleyman, Susie Symes, Bridget Symonds, Victoria Taylor, Rosemary Taylor, Gill Taylor, Trevor, Aaron Tunney, Amy Tunstall, Neil Vening, Sue Vening, Steve Warren, Lee Webster, Mr B Wille, Jenny Williamson, Jackie Withnall, Vanessa Woolf, Danica Wyber-Thomas