Henrietta Garnett

Ruffling Feathers

Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather: Fashion, Fury and Feminism – Women’s Fight for Change


Aurum Press 320pp £20 order from our bookshop

Tessa Boase has written a fascinating account of what she describes as the story of ‘two difficult, driven, heroic and compassionate women of vastly differing ambitions, personalities and methods’. Shocking, frequently funny and full of unexpected information, it is all of that and more. The two principal characters are the well-known leader of the Suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst, and an almost entirely forgotten campaigner for the Society for the Protection of Birds (SPB), the splendidly named Etta Lemon. How this piercingly intelligent woman, a confirmed Evangelist, came to be consigned to oblivion is one of the mysteries Boase unravels.

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