HomeAnnie's ArboretumEmmeline Pethick Lawrence

Emmeline Pethick Lawrence

Emmeline Pethick Lawrence planting a tree with Annie Kenney and Lady Constance Lytton

Early Life

Emmeline Pethick was born in Bristol on 21 October1867, the second of thirteen children. Her father was a businessman who bought the Weston Gazette and her sister Dorothy was also a prominent suffragette.   During her twenties, Emmeline worked on various Methodist projects for young women in Fitzrovia, in London and eventually set up a dressmaking co-operative with fair pay and conditions. She married Frederick Lawrence in 1901 and the two took the shared surname Pethick-Lawrence and kept separate bank accounts


She met Emmeline Pankhurst in 1906 and became treasurer of the WSPU and founded the magazine Votes for Women in 1907.  She was arrested in 1906 and 1909 and with her husband, was again arrested in 1912 when she was force fed. A luminary of the WSPU, Emmeline forged close working relationships with a number of suffragettes, including Annie Kenney. Annie’s autobiography recorded her angst at the split between the Pethick-Lawrences and the Pankhursts over the use of militant tactics. The Pethick-Lawrences were ousted and set up a rival movement. 

Later Life

During the First World War, Emmeline worked for for peace and women's rights as well as promoting the use of birth control for women. In 1918, she stood unsuccessfully as a Labour Party candidate in Manchester. Frederick Lawrence became a Labour MP in 1923 and later served in government, being awarded with a peerage in 1945. Emmeline wrote her biography in 1938. She stayed in contact with Annie Kenney and invited her to visit occasionally. Emmeline’s work for women’s suffrage is remembered in Parliament Square and in memorials in her native Weston-super-Mare. She died in Surrey in 1954


'A change of heart is the essence of all other change, and it has brought about me a re-education of the mind.'