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Deeds Not Words – A Special Visit From Helen Pankhurst

Posted on 14 September 2018 by Miss Emily Acton-Edmiston

Both the Junior and Senior Schools were lucky enough to be visited by Helen Pankhurst, on Wednesday 12 September. Helen is the granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst and great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, the leaders of the British suffragette movement. It was a privilege to welcome her to Queen’s Gate, in the centenary year of when women gained the vote, to talk about her life as an activist and author and to tell us about her new book, Deeds Not Words.

Helen’s visit began in the Junior School with a Q&A session with IIB, IIA and III Form. The girls had some fantastic questions at the ready and we definitely all went away having learnt something new!



Did you know?

  • The colours of the suffragette flag were purple, green and white, each with their own symbol. Purple stood for dignity, green symbolised hope and white indicated purity.
  • Helen’s grandmother, Sylvia Pankhurst was an artist as well as a campaigner and there is currently an exhibition of her work up in Scarborough. 
  • A memorial to Emmeline Pankhurst is being unveiled on 14 December this year in Manchester, the birthplace of the British suffragette movement.

After lunch it was the Senior School’s turn to meet Helen. The fact that the suffragette’s story is still so well remembered today, 100 years on, makes you realise how difficult it was to get the vote for women. Helen stressed the importance of using your vote, even if you feel disillusioned by politics. She also emphasised that whilst the suffragettes were an extraordinary example of women coming together in solidarity to make change, there is still much work to be done and it is the women of today that can drive that change.

For a fascinating but digestible version of events during the suffragette movement, Helen urged everyone to watch the 2015 film, Suffragette, which stars Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter.

A big thank you to Helen for taking the time to come and talk to us!