Day 8: International Women’s Day - Where are all the Women?

08.03.18 |
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Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.

 

Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 

 

Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.

 

Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.

 

#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018

 

Day 1: 1 March 2018

 

Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here

 

Day 2: 2 March 2018

 

Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.

 

Day 3: 3 March 2018

 

Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here

 

Day 4: 4 March 2018

 

Gray’s Inn Road became Singh Street. Read about Sophia Duleep Singh here

 

Day 5: 5 March 2018

 

Lamb’s Conduit Street became Haslam Street. Read more about Dr Kate Haslam here

 

Day 6: 6 March 2018

 

John Street became Kenney Street. Read more about Annie Kenney here

 

Day 7: 7 March 2018

 

Theobald’s Road became Richardson Street.  Read more about Mary Richardson here

 

Day 8: 8 March 2018 – International Women’s Day

 

Today, International Women’s Day 2018, we rename Russell Square as Pankhurst Square, in honour of Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928), founder and President of the Women’s Franchise League and Women’s Suffrage and Political Union (“WSPU”).

 

Among the best known of the suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst was the founder (in 1889) of the Women’s Franchise League. It was considered among the more radical suffrage groups at the time in part because it advocated that women should have equal rights in respect of divorce and inheritance.

 

Born in Manchester, Emmeline lived in Bloomsbury, at 8 Russell Square between 1888 to 1893. In her drawing room in that house she held Women’s Franchise League conferences. In 1903, she was among the founders of the WSPU and a prominent participant in its activities, which resulted in her repeated arrest and hunger-striking.

 

Emmeline is honoured, together with her daughter Christabel, in Victoria Gardens in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament.  She will shortly be commemorated by the city of Manchester in a new statue, one of the first to honour any woman’s achievements there.

 

While Emmeline’s achievements may be well-known, her legacy has been profound.  Doughty Street Chambers was delighted to have her great granddaughter, Helen Pankhurst close this year’s London International Women’s Day event with the call to action Emmeline made legend: Deeds, not Words.

 

 

The #DoughtyStWomen urge you to continue to work for equality for all women everywhere.  Let us never forget that change is achieved through our deeds, not words.

 

 

#DoughtyStWomen Keina Yoshida, Kate Beattie, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Laura Pankhurst, Angela Patrick, Jen Robinson, Sian Wilkins and Jeannie Mackie mark the change of name from Russell Square to Pankhurst Square.

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