Christabel Pankhurst DBE

Christabel Harriette Pankhurst DBE (1880 - 1958)

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Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst DBE
Born in Old Trafford, Manchester, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in California, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 3 May 2014 | Last significant change: 24 Nov 2018
01:33: Gil Davis edited the Biography for Christabel Pankhurst DBE. (added cemetery) [Thank Gil for this]
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Categories: Activists and Reformers | Women's Social and Political Union | Feminism | British Suffragettes | This Day In History September 22 | This Day In History February 13 | Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire | Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, California.

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Christabel Pankhurst DBE was a part of the Suffragette Movement.
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Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst, DBE, was a suffragette born in Manchester, England. A co-founder of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), she directed its militant actions from exile in France from 1912 to 1913. In 1914 she supported the war against Germany. After the war she moved to the United States, where she worked as an evangelist for the Second Adventist movement.

Christabel Pankhurst

Christabel Harriette Pankhurst, daughter of feminist activist Emmeline Pankhurst and lawyer Richard Marsden Pankhurst, was born on September 22, 1880 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.[1]

Educated at home, Pankhurst learned to read early, later attending school in Manchester before moving to Geneva to study French while staying in the home of a family friend. When her father died in 1898, she returned to Manchester to help her mother raise her siblings.[2]

In 1903 Christabel along with her mother co-founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), which became better known as the Suffragettes.[3] In 1905 she was arrested for disrupting a meeting of the Liberal Party. Along with Annie Kenney, she shouted out ‘Votes for Women’ when speakers were on stage addressing the audience. Christabel was fined for

Suffragetee Scarf

disturbing the peace but she refused to pay and was put in prison. The media paid a great deal of attention to this whole episode and served to highlight the Suffragette cause. As a result, many more women decided to join.[4]

Despite support from the fledgling Independent Labour Party and some MP’s, the real power base in Parliament refused to accept the notion of female suffrage. As a result the Suffragettes became more extreme in their approach. They argued that they were pushed into becoming more militant as a result of Parliament’s obstruction. Christabel was jailed, once again, in 1907 and 1909 and was dubbed the ‘Queen of the Mob’ by the media.[5]

In 1910, the WSPU decided that the only way they were going to achieve their aims was to become more disruptive. Demonstrations with placards was replaced with stone throwing, breaking of shop windows, attacking politicians who were known to be against women’s suffrage. The ‘Queen of the Mob’ became a target for the police.[2]

From 1912 to 1913, Christabel lived in France to escape imprisonment. In 1913, as a result of the declining diplomatic position in Europe, Christabel returned to England. She was arrested on her return. She had been sentenced to three years in jail but only served 30 days.[6]

On September 8th 1914 Christabel spoke at the London Opera House and gave a speech entitled ‘The German Peril’. She was a supported of conscription and the ‘industrial conscription’ of women. The WSPU newspaper was renamed Britannia in 1915. Its slogan was For King, For Country, For Freedom. Christabel’s followers gave out white feathers to any young man they saw in public who was in civilian dress. Christabel made frequent attacks in Britannia against politicians she saw as being soft on war. In fact Britannia became so vitriolic that it attracted the attention of the police who more than once raided its premises.[7]

After the passing of the Qualification of Women Act in 1918, Christabel became one of the seventeen women candidates that stood in the post-war election. Christabel represented the The Women's Party in Smethwick, but despite the fact that the Conservative Party candidate agreed to stand down, she lost a straight fight with the representative of the Labour Party by 775 votes.[8]

In 1921, Christabel left the UK and moved to America. She became an evangelist and joined the Second Adventist movement. Christabel returned to England in the early 1930’s and in 1936 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the British Empire. In 1939 she returned to America.[9]

Christabel Pankhurst died on February 13th 1958 in California aged 77.

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  1. "England and Wales, Birth Registration Index, 1837-1920", index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 03 May 2014), Christabel Harriette Pankhurst, 1880.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mitchell, David J. Queen Christabel: a biography of Christabel Pankhurst. Virginia: Macdonald and Jane's, 1977, 1977.
  3. 20th Century London. Women's Social and Political Union (W.S.P.U.). ( accessed May 3, 2014).
  4. Larsen, Timothy. Christabel Pankhurst: fundamentalism and feminism in coalition. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell Press, 2002.
  5. June Purvis, ‘Pankhurst, Dame Christabel Harriette (1880–1958)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2011 accessed 3 May 2014
  6. Castle, Barbara. Sylvia and Christabel Pankhurst. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin ;, 1987.
  7. Simkin, John. "Christabel Pankhurst." Spartacus Educational. (accessed May 3, 2014).
  8. 1918 Representation of the People Act. Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PU/1/1918/7&8G5c64
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Christabel Pankhurst," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed May 3, 2014).

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Images: 4
Christabel Harriette Pankhurst
Christabel Harriette Pankhurst

Votes for Women
Votes for Women

Christabel Pankhurst Billboard
Christabel Pankhurst Billboard

Flora Drummond & Christabel Pankhurst
Flora Drummond & Christabel Pankhurst


Christabel is 39 degrees from Rosa Parks, 33 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 28 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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