We were very sad to hear of the death of Rita Pankhurst, widow of Sylvia Pankhurst’s son Richard, at the age of 92.
Rita, together with Richard, was enormously helpful and encouraging to Lynx Theatre and Poetry when we were planning Sylvia back in 1987. Rita was particularly helpful, as Head of the Library Services at the City of London Polytechnic, in showing us sources of information about Sylvia Pankhurst.
Before leaving for Ethiopia in 1987, Rita asked William Alderson and myself to start a Sylvia Pankhurst Society. At that time, it did not gather as much interest as we had hoped, but we had a couple of successful meetings and a very interesting ‘Sylvia Pankhurst Walk’ around places connected with her in East London (1988). It also resulted in the book Sylvia Pankhurst From Artist to Anti-Fascist edited by Ian Bullock and Richard Pankhurst (Palgrave 1992).
On a personal level, I shall always be grateful to Rita for introducing me to Ethiopian art and artists and for immense kindness, humour and hospitality which extended to other members of my family.
1 June 2019