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Annie Kenney

  • Date Submitted: 01/05/2014 08:05 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 67.8 
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Annie Kenney
Annie Kenney was born prematurely on the 13th of September 1879 in Springhead near Oldham in Lancashire. She was born to Horatio Kenney and Ann Wood, a working class family and was the fifth of twelve children. Her father, who worked as a cotton minder at Grotten Hollow spinning mill, was a kind and honest man, but mismanaged money and occasionally drank too much. Her mother was a saintly woman with a strong sense of humour. ‘To my mother I owe all that I have ever been, or ever done that has called upon courage of loyalty for its support’ recalled Annie. At the age of ten, Annie began work part time in the local cotton mill. She worked from 6am to 12.30pm and shortly after she began working at the mill, a spinning bobbin tore off one of her fingers. At thirteen she left school and from then until that age of twenty six worked full time. Her political education began in her late teens. She paid regular visits to Oldham library to read ‘Rational Review’ or Robert Blatchford’s newspaper ‘The Clarion’. When she was twenty five, her mother became seriously ill and died. As mentioned in ‘Freedoms Cause’, ‘The cement that kept her home life together slipped away’.
A few months after the death of her mother, she was invited by a friend from the Clarion Choir, to a meeting of the Oldham Trades Council, where Christabel Pankhurst was due to speak. After the meeting, Annie returned home so excited that she was barely able to eat for a week. Over the next fifteen years, Christabel Pankhurst became her muse and idol. Annie described herself as Christabel’s ‘first-born militant and mascot’. Annie’s relationship with Christabel would be mirrored but never matched in its intensity, by number of later relationships between Annie and other Suffragettes.
Annie threw herself into the maelstrom with all the passion she could muster. Walking to the station with Christabel after that first meeting, Annie offered to organise a meeting of factory women in Oldham. Soon...


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