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Celebrating Mothers Who Shaped Society: Margaret Clitherow and Emmeline Pankhurst

Happy Mother's Day! Today, we celebrate the incredible strength and resilience of mothers around the world. In honour of this special day, we'd like to remember two remarkable women who not only made a significant impact on society but also balanced the responsibilities of motherhood: Margaret Clitherow and Emmeline Pankhurst.

A Painting of Margaret Clitherow
Source: Historic UK

Margaret Clitherow was born in York in 1556 and was a devout Catholic who openly practised her faith despite the persecution of Catholics in England. She married John Clitherow, a butcher, and they had three children together. Despite the challenges of raising a family in difficult circumstances, Clitherow was known for her hospitality and kindness, often opening her home to priests and others in extreme need. Being a Catholic convert during a time when it was illegal to practice Catholicism in England, she faced persecution for her beliefs. Over several years, she was able to secretly hold Catholic Masses in her home. Unfortunately, her religious devotion eventually led to her arrest and execution in 1586. Despite the challenges of balancing her religious devotion and responsibilities as a mother, Clitherow's unwavering faith and courage serve as a testament to the strength of women throughout history.

A Catholic Painting of Saint Margaret Clitherow
Source: Weird Catholic

In York, tourists can visit the shrine of St. Margaret Clitherow, which is located in the Shambles area of the city. This small chapel is believed to have been the site of Clitherow's home, where she often held clandestine Catholic services. The shrine includes a display of relics and information about her life, as well as a statue of Clitherow herself. Visitors can also take our self-guided walking tour of the city which includes stops at other notable Catholic sites and landmarks.

Emmeline Pankhurst, born in Manchester in 1858, was a leading figure in the women's suffrage movement and fought tirelessly for women's right to vote. She married Richard Pankhurst, a lawyer and suffragette supporter, and they had five children together. As a mother, Pankhurst faced the challenges of balancing her activism with the responsibilities of raising a family. She often had to sacrifice her personal life to organize marches, rallies, and protests. Her fervent activism led to arrests several times and once she even went on a hunger strike while in prison to protest the treatment of suffragette prisoners. Her unwavering commitment to the cause eventually paid off in 1918 when the Representation of the People Act was passed, giving women over the age of 30 the right to vote. Pankhurst's strength and determination in the face of adversity continue to inspire women around the world to this day.

A Portrait Picture of Emmeline Pankhurst
Source: Wikipedia Images

In Manchester, tourists can visit the Pankhurst Centre, which is located in the house where Emmeline Pankhurst and her family lived. The centre includes a museum dedicated to the suffrage movement and the Pankhurst family, as well as a women's community centre that hosts events and workshops. Visitors can also take our self-guided walking tour of the city centre which includes stops at other notable suffrage sites and landmarks.

Both Clitherow and Pankhurst serve as inspiring examples of the strength and resilience required to balance motherhood and societal impact. As we celebrate Mother's Day, we honour their contributions to society and their families.

Emmeline Pankhurst Statue in St Peter Square, Manchester
Emmeline Pankhurst Statue in St Peter Square, Manchester

If you're interested in learning more about the places these remarkable women called home, our self-guided walking tours app offers an immersive and informative experience. However, we recognize that the true purpose of this post is to celebrate the incredible strength and resilience of mothers everywhere, and we hope that you take a moment to reflect on the mothers in your own life who have made an impact on you.

Happy Mother's Day!

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