Pankhurst Centre - History and Facts | History Hit

Pankhurst Centre

Manchester, England, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

27 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Kurt Adkins / CC

About Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre in Manchester is a community centre and museum dedicated to Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragette movement of the early 20th century. Situated in the house where Pankhurst lived for around a decade, the centre brings to life the movement in the very building it began.

Pankhurst Centre history

Emmeline Pankhurst and her family first moved to 62 Nelson Street in 1898 after the death of her husband, Dr Richard Pankhurst. She was given a paid position as Registrar of Births and Deaths in Chorlton where she soon gained an insight into the poor conditions suffered by women in the area, and the stark inequalities present between men and women.

In 1903, after a number of suffrage bills failed to pass through Parliament, Pankhurst established the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). This organisation was only open to women and focused on a more militant approach to achieving women’s suffrage, with their first meeting taking place in the parlour of Pankhurst’s home on 10 October of that year.

All three of Pankhurst’s daughters were involved in the fight for women’s suffrage – Christabel, Adela, and Sylvia – and lived with her at 62 Nelson Street. They spent a number of years operating from the house there until in 1907, Pankhurst sold it to begin an itinerant lifestyle. She thus moved from place to place to deliver speeches and join marches, staying with friends an in hotels carrying a small collection of her possessions in a suitcase.

On 11 October 1987 – the 84th anniversary of the first Suffragettes meeting in 1903 – the Pankhurst Centre was opened by Helen Pankhurst, Emmeline Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter, and Barbara Castle, one of the longest-serving female MPs in British history.

Pankhurst Centre today

Today residing at 60-62 Nelson Street, the Pankhurst Centre is the headquarters of Manchester Women’s Aid and serves as a female community centre and museum.

The Pankhurst Parlour hosts a memorial to the suffragette movement and is furnished in the Edwardian style as it would have been when the Pankhursts lived there. The permanent ‘At Home with the Pankhurst Family’ exhibition explores in more depth the lives of the radical family themselves, and provides a fascinating look into their roles in the wider movement.

In 2018, a crowd-funded garden also opened at the site on the centenary of women achieving the vote, which today provides a pleasant setting for reflection on the hard-fought journey towards gender equality.

Getting to the Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre is located in Manchester on Nelson Street, just off the A34 (Upper Brook Street). Parking is available at the nearby NCP / Manchester Royal Infirmary car park on Grafton Street, a short walk away.

The Oxford Road and Piccadilly train stations are around a 30-minute walk to the site, while a number of bus services alight at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, either on Upper Brook Street or Grafton Street, both less than 5-minutes to the site.

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