Feminism is an East End issue, always has been

Newington Green unitarian chapel building London 50513 © david.altheer@gmail.com

FEMINISM has come a long way since its peak in the 1970s, although some progressive people may be doubtful about the value of a journey that seems to have run from Germaine Greer to a full stop with Caitlin Moran.

So perhaps it is a good time to look back, and a suffragette festival, celebrating 100 years since the East London Federation of Suffragettes was founded in Bow by Sylvia Pankhurst, opens next month.sarahjackson

East London Suffragette Festival organiser Sarah Jackson, left, explained that suffragettes campaigned, below, in East London not only for the vote but also for equal pay, good housing, fair pay, pensions and support for single mothers.

She said: “They opened a nursery, a cost-price restaurant, and a co-operative toy factory. When the First World War brought mass unemployment and starvation, their relief efforts saved countless lives.”

Jackson, co-author of Voices from History: East London Suffragettes (History Press, next month), added that the festival would explore the campaigning women’s “hidden history, part of the long tradition of East End radicalism”. The aim was “to bring people into the fight for equality today”.

Best see the website for the many events that are scheduled but a highlight could be the Sunday lunch at G. Kelly, a pie-and-mash shop in Roman Road where diners will hear talks about:ELFS_4_demo

* the shop, which has been in one family since 1939;

* the history of street food;

* the cost-price restaurant.

If you want to build an appetite, you can stretch out on a pre-prandial walk in the footsteps of the suffragettes.

Hamish Scott 250114 

* East London Suffragette Festival runs from Fri 1 Aug 2014 to Sun 10 Aug 2014.

* Lunch at G. Kelly, 526 Roman Road, Bow E3 5ES (020 8980 3165), Sun 10 Aug 2014 1pm-3pm, <£5

* Sisters, Rebels, Freedom Fighters: walk led by David Rosenberg of East End Walks, from Crown Pub, corner Grove and Old Ford roads, Bow E3 5SN, Sun 10 Aug 2014, 11am; ends near Bow Road station at 1pm. Free but donations requested. 

* Picture shows Newington Green unitarian chapel airing its claim to a place in the feminist story.

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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