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Pankhurst, Dame Christabel Harriette (1880–1958), suffragette Image With digital objects
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Letter from Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

India House.—Accepts an invitation to the unveiling of a memorial to Christabel Pankhurst. Agrees to write a letter regarding her feelings and those of many Indian women towards Christabel Pankhurst’s work, but points out that Indian women derived their impetus to progress not from their British sisters but from the freedom struggle under Gandhi.

Letter from Laurence Housman to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Longmeadow, Street, Somerset.—Discusses his feelings towards Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst, and declines to contribute to the cost of a statue of the latter.

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Transcript

Longmeadow, Street, Somerset
Nov 27th 1958

Dear Pethick Lawrence

(If I may drop formality in memory of old days) I was very glad to hear from you: but I am 94 and am a rather worn-out old man. You may be surprised to hear that Miss Pankhurst has never appealed to me: her companion (Annie Kenny†.) did. She and I did not like each other. There was a silly Suffragette fable, that I was in love with her: and that she had made our marriage conditional on their getting the vote. Mrs Pankhurst I liked & respected; but I did not approve of the section which indulged in violence and destruction. Also I disliked that final triumphal procession along Picadilly† to curry favour with the Government when War broke out. Also she tied some Australian Prime Minister to her tail. The tragic moment to my mind was when she had got as far as a public meeting in London, when the Police were after her. She had managed to get there, and was just about to speak, when the Police broke in. “Women! They are taking me!” she cried. The women all jumped to their feet, but not (as she had hoped) to become violent. “You brutes!” was all they cried. Whereas she had wanted a real battle! And if a few women and police got killed,—all the better for the cause.

So that’s that! And you can leave me out of your subscribers for any additions to Mrs Pankhurst’s Statue in Westminster[.]

I wonder whether you know that I have become a member of “the Society of Friends” and as “a Quaker” am now a staunch Pacifist! Thus you & I have become far separated in our ideas; but not in our old friendship, I hope.

Ever yours very sincerely
Laurence Housman

PS. I’m afraid I have mislaid your present address, with the letter I received from you. LH

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† Sic.

Letter from Sylvia Pankhurst to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

P.O. Box 1896, Addis Ababa.—Thanks him for a copy of his speech at the memorial service (for Dame Christabel Pankhurst). Reflects on the suffrage movement and the the Pethick-Lawrences’ contributions to it.

(Letter-head of the Ethiopia Observer. Sylvia Pankhurst is named as Editor.)

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