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Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst

BIRTH JULY 1882 • Barton, Lancashire, United Kingdom
DEATH 27 SEP 1960 • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

She worked in London's East End. She established a milk distribution centre for babies, many of whom were too ill to digest their food. So she also opened a clinic alongside the centre, staffed by a doctor, who treated patients without charge. Within two weeks of war being declared, as food ran short, Sylvia had also opened the 'Cut Price Restaurant.' Thanks to the superhuman efforts of local builders, tradesmen and families who donated labour, china cutlery and money. It was claimed by locals that many lives were saved. In 1915 they served about 400 meals daily and every day Sylvia joined them.

Sylvia converted a disused pub, the Gunmakers' Arms, into a mother-and-baby drop-in centre called the Mother's Arms. A new toy factory was her answer to the dozens of tiny failing workshops where women were paid a pittance. Toys were no longer being imported from Germany, so Sylvia’s factory employed 59 women to fill the gap. It was a haven for them. First they turned out wooden toys and then dolls: black, white and yellow, followed by stuffed cats, dogs and bears. One day, Sylvia took a taxi full of her wares to Selfridges new store in Oxford Street and cajoled Gordon Selfridge himself to become a stockist. No wonder the East Enders called her 'Our Sylvia.' From http://www.sylviapankhurst.com/her_campaigns/sylvia_east_end.php

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