Politics Cafe: Sylvia Pankhurst

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Katherine Connelly, author of the book Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire, will be speaking at the Thanet Left meeting. From militant suffragette at the beginning of the twentieth century to campaigner against colonialism in Africa after the Second World War, Sylvia Pankhurst dedicated her life to fighting oppression and injustice. 

In this vivid biography, Katherine Connelly examines Pankhurst’s role at the forefront of significant developments in the history of radical politics. She guides us through Pankhurst's construction of a suffragette militancy which put working-class women at the heart of the struggle, her championing of the Bolshevik Revolution and her clandestine attempts to sabotage the actions of the British state, as well as her early identification of the dangers of Fascism. 

The book explores the dilemmas, debates and often painful personal consequences faced by Pankhurst which were played out in her art, writings and activism. It argues that far from being an advocate of disparate causes, Pankhurst’s campaigns were united by an essential continuity which hold vital lessons for achieving social change. This lively and accessible biography presents Pankhurst as a courageous and inspiring campaigner, of huge relevance to those engaged in social movements today.

We Can't Keep Quiet!

For our opening ceremony, we are forming a massive choir to sing Milck’s - I Can’t Keep Quiet, and a specially composed anthem as part of Emily Peasgood’s Voice100 project. We are looking for women, men, girls and boys of all ages to take part in the premiere on Wednesday 7th March at Turner Contemporary, Margate. See links to more information below.

If you’d like to take part, rehearsals for the event begin at Cliftonville Community Centre, on Tuesday 9th January at 7.45pm. There is no audition and everyone is welcome – so please come along.

If you need more information or have any questions, please contact powthanet@gmail.com with the words 'festival choir' in the e-mail title.

You can download the music here https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ugtc2ijosoxz151/AAA18wthoeph5_dxk_oW3xMYa?dl=0

Dates for your diary:

Tuesday 6th March, 7.45pm - Final POW! Festival Choir Rehearsal, Cliftonville Community Centre, St Paul’s Road, Margate, CT9 2DB.

Wednesday 7th March, 6pm-9pm -  Performance at opening of POW! 2018 at Turner Contemporary

Find Out More:
I Can’t Keep Quiet - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cc_neVdjb4 (please note we will be using an adapted version with lyrics suitable for children to sing)
Voice100 - http://emilypeasgood.com/voice100/

Exciting news and developments from POW!

It has been a few months since our last newsletter and we all hope you had a wonderful summer! Lots has been happening and we are incredibly excited to share our news.

The team has been working tirelessly since we last wrote to you, expanding and developing the festival and its team, securing funding and launching our exciting new brand.

Firstly we can now confirm POW!’s registered charity status - this is an important stage in the development of the festival and one we hope will help futureproof the event in the years to come.


We are very pleased to announce our new board of trustees who bring a wealth of experience, diverse skills set and a shared passion for POW! 

The new members are Deb Cartwright, CEO of Oasis Domestic Abuse Service; Zara McKenzie, Project Director of design firm HKD; Nod Miller, Professor of Innovation Studies and Rowena Tozer, Management Consultant.

POW! has also added further members to the management team. Joining Festival Director, Christina Clark-McQuaid and Programme Director, Jan Ryan are Marketing Manager, Jodie Nesling; Community Engagement Co-Ordinator, Rachel Connelly and Administrator, Lindsay Marsden.


We are excited to confirm, for the third year in a row, POW! has been awarded funding from Arts Council England (ACE). Funding has also been received from the Kent County Council members’ allowance.


POW! has undergone a makeover - we have a new strong black and pink logo and a modern,  mobile-ready website designed by festival contributor, Claire de Lune. Stay tuned for regular updates on the site as the final tweaks to a dynamic and inspiring arts programme are made. We look forward to sharing the news with you in the coming weeks. 


POW! Is absolutely committed to delivering a dynamic, vibrant and inclusive festival to the Thanet community and beyond. In order to do this we urgently need your help. Any donations we receive makes a profound difference.

A donation of £25 and we’ll send two free tickets to an event of your choice and an invitation to the programme preview which will be announced soon.

A donation of £10 would be welcomed and you would be invited to the programme preview. Any other donations would be warmly received and with heartfelt thanks.














The History of Women's Movement in Thanet

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The Suffragettes and The Pioneer Society

Thanet's ties to the women's movement go back to the late 1800s, when suffragette groups were founded in Margate and Ramsgate.
In Margate, the Pioneer Society was established by Mrs Wools (the chemist's wife) and Mrs Bobby of Bobby's Department Stores fame. The society's aims were 'to further the interests of women, instil a feeling of comradeship, help charities and enjoy intellectual and social amenities; among other things they built the Pioneer Hall in Cliftonville.

In the Victorian age Thanet became an established holiday destination for well-to-do Londoners, many of whom hired houses for the season. While their husbands worked in London during the week, coming down by ferry on Friday evenings, their wives had an unprecedented level of freedom from scrutiny. This was exacerbated by the heady atmosphere of gaiety, all donkey rides and bathing machines; the time was ripe for a revolution!

Of course, this was all still quite genteel; Mrs Bobby was not going to smash her own shop windows. But some suffragettes did graffiti the walls in Ramsgate (in chalk), to announce the visit of Emmeline Pankhurst in April 1910, and the picture above shows her daughter Christabel (centre, with flowers) outside the Theatre Royal, Margate in July of the same year. Women of property, and over the age of 30 gained the vote in 1918; but universal suffrage was only granted in 1928.

The Pioneer Society continued to meet until May 1999, when they decided there was no longer a need for an organisation such as theirs. 

Thank you to the Margate Museum for the information and image from their archive.

For more information about Margate Museum please visit www.margatemuseum.wordpress.com