Copy of letter from Christabel Pankhurst to Jessie Kenney, 1936
In this emotional letter, Christabel generously shares the D.B.E. Honour awarded to her with all her suffragette friends and allies. “It is not, as in some cases, just an individual recognition.” She shares feelings of pride and satisfaction at this recognition of the achievements of the militant suffragette movement, asking “what other Movement for reform has so completely triumphed!” Imagining the moment when she receives the Honour, she states, “it will be a great moment in the history of the Movement that begun thirty-one years ago, with the protest at the Free Trade Hall. I shall be thinking of Annie, my fellow soldier in that first battle!”. She ends the letter with an expression of impassioned gratitude for Jessie’s service to the Cause.
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Letter from Christabel Pankhurst to Jessie Kenney, 7th Feb.1936. on her receiving her D.B.E Honour.
50, Pembridge Villas, W11
Your congratulations are so very welcome to me. I am pleased that you are glad about the Honour which I feel belongs to us all and to the Cause most all.
It is not, as in some cases, just an individual recognition. The very time and circumstances in which the Honour has been given made it more significant than it would otherwise have been.
It comes not only at the end of Jubilee Year but at the end of the reign in which our campaign was waged and our victory won. It was the very moment for it to be given. Earlier or later would have made a great difference. Mother has the statue which is the very highest honour that humanity can pay and that makes us very thankful does it not?
It will seem to me as I receive the honour from King Edward that Mother and all of you are with me. It will be a great moment in the history of the Movement that begun thirty-one years ago, with that protest at the Free Trade Hall. I shall be thinking of Annie, my fellow soldier in that first battle! It is good that Grace and now you have voyaged home at the time when our Honour comes to us.
Often do I think, Jessie dear of our times at Clements Inn and your wonderful loyal help to me in those momentous years. You played your part nobly and my loving recollection of what you did will never fade. Those were glorious years and for the hardness of them we are rewarded by seeing the greatness and completeness of our victory. What other Movement for reform has ever so completely triumphed! What a privelege [privilege] we have had and how rich are our memories! We know too that all the experience has wprked [worked] into our being something of value which can never be lost and without
which we should have been infinitely poorer in all that matters essentially.
Thank you, dear, dear Jessie, for your letter and all that you did in the Cause.
[Transcript below.],” Suffragette Stories, accessed December 3, 2023, https://suffragettestories.omeka.net/items/show/120.