Would you like to be part of the ongoing history of the Pankhursts and their legacy as activists who helped to change women’s futures?
The Pankhurst Centre – the former home of Emmeline Pankhurst and her activist daughters Sylvia, Christabel and Adela, and the place where the suffragette movement began – is looking for volunteers.
The beautiful Edwardian house, just off Oxford Road in Manchester, at 62 Nelson Street, is now home to a small museum and heritage centre. And attached, at no 60, is a women’s community centre that provides events and services run by women, for women. As such, the house is still an activist centre, continuing the fight that the Pankhursts began on that very spot more than a hundred years ago, and retains its status as a unique place in women’s history and the history of radical Manchester
The centre relies entirely on volunteers to open this iconic space to the public, and is looking for people who can give time to help run the museum and keep the work of the Pankhursts, and the fight for equality, alive and accessible to people from across the globe. And what a great time to get involved –in the centenary year of (some) women getting the right to vote!
Volunteers help as tour guides, opening the doors to visitors and answering questions about the building, the Pankhursts and the history of the movement, in the place where the first ever meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) took place – the birthplace of the suffragette movement. As a volunteer, your role can be as varied as selling memorabilia in the tiny shop to explaining the history behind Sylvia Pankhurst’s typewriter, and giving visitors a tour of the beautifully-restored Edwardian parlour.
New volunteers shadow experienced guides to learn the history of the building and the movement, and to ensure that visitors have an informative, memorable visit. Many people are visibly moved by their visit to the museum, and the volunteers are an important part of that experience. The volunteers are a diverse group of people, and give as much or as little of their time as they have available. Every volunteer counts in helping to keep the centre, and the Pankhursts’ legacy, alive.
The Pankhurst Centre is open every Thursday, 10am-4pm, and every second Sunday from 1-4pm. To find out more about volunteering at the Pankhurst Centre, contact Clare Blomley at C.Blomley@manchesterwomensaid.org
Why we volunteer – Pankhurst Centre volunteers tell their story……
Niamh, aged 18
“I’ve met lots of people with so much knowledge, and learned from the other volunteers. It has helped with my confidence. I now go up to people and talk to them, and get them engaged. I’ve met a wide range of people.
I volunteered because I was having a gap year before university. I’m going to study history, and I wanted to get experience to put on my CV. I wanted to show I’m engaged with history. I feel more connected to women’s history now.”
Judith, long-term volunteer
“The main thing I get from volunteering is contact with so many interesting visitors from all over the world – learning their histories and the histories of the women’s movements in their countries; as well as learning about their own experiences too.
As volunteers, we show visitors round, and give them a feel for what we are all about.
I came here because of my interest in feminist history, and have been here over 10 years now.”