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Suffragette Planners and Plotters (Paperback)

The Pankhurst/Pethick-Lawrence Story

British History P&S History Social History Women of History

By Kathryn Atherton
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 152
ISBN: 9781526751683
Published: 4th September 2019

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Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence were an extraordinary couple and theirs is an extraordinary political and personal story. Emmeline was treasurer of Mrs Pankhurst’s militant Women’s Social and Political Union. Fred was the only man to achieve leadership status in the organisation. Without their wealth, determination and skills we might never have heard of the ‘suffragettes’.

Emmeline was always at Mrs Pankhurst’s side whilst Fred was the ‘Godfather’ who stood bail for a thousand women. Both were imprisoned and force-fed. They provided the militant movement with its colours, its home, and much of its vision, and it was their associates who initiated the hunger strike and who brought force-feeding to national attention. But in 1912 the couple were dramatically ousted from the organisation by the Pankhursts in a move that has often been misrepresented. This book is a portrait of the couple and their relationship with the Pankhursts, and of their inspirational fight, not just for the vote for women, but for freedom and equality across the world.

The Pethick-Lawrences were once as well known as the Pankhursts. But they have been neglected by history. This is the first book to give the Pethick-Lawrences the recognition that their part in the fight for the vote deserves, shedding new light on the development of the militant campaign. It is also the first to address in detail the complexities of the dramatic split with the Pankhursts which has been misunderstood for a hundred years.

Article: 'My whirlwind of suffrage research' as featured by

Dorking Advertiser, 23rd May 2019

This is a fascinating book that goes into great detail about two equally fascinating people who don’t have the recognition for their work and their achievements in the suffrage fight as other individuals do. It is an engaging and very informative book that is brilliantly researched, there is not doubt that the author is deeply passionate about the history, her writing it vivid, it has a real warmth and realism to it that conveys not only the facts, but the authors opinion in a way that engages the reader.

Read the full review here

Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Yes, everyone knows the Pankhursts and the parts they played in the fight for women’s suffrage. But this book chronicles the lives of the Pankhursts’ friends and assistants, the Pethuck-Lawrences, and a fascinating story it is too. For anyone interested in British social history, this is a terrific addition to the body of work on suffrage.

Books Monthly

An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, and exceptionally well presented study, "Suffragette Planners and Plotters: The Pankhurst, Pethick-Lawrence Story" by Kathryn Atherton is an extraordinary, unique, and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library American History collections in general, and the Suffragette Movement supplemental studies lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Very, very interesting.

Watch the full video review here

Lil's Vintage World

Article: 'Author sheds new light on remarkable couple at the forefront of fight for vote' as featured by

Dorking Advertiser, 21st February 2019
 Kathryn Atherton

About Kathryn Atherton

After an MPhil in 17th Century Studies, Kathryn wrote for the Oxford English Dictionary, she then spent 10 years as a city lawyer. She is currently responsible for exhibitions at Dorking Museum and regularly leads guided walks and speaks on local history in the Dorking area. She has published three books on local history and is currently researching a book on the lives of suffragette campaigners Frederick and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and the fight for the vote in the Surrey Hills. Kathy runs guided tours to Ypres and the Somme, and has been able to combine her interest in the Great War with the history of Dorking in preparation of this book.

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