Bow was the headquarters of the East London Federation of the Suffragettes. Led by Sylvia Pankhurst, it was an offshoot of the ‘Women’s Social and Political Union’. Sylvia, the daughter of Emmeline and sister of Christabel, was a campaigner for more than just the vote. She opened a nursery, a cost-price restaurant and a co-operative toy factory. All with view to try and improve the conditions of the women of the East End. One of the countries most deprived areas.
A vocal advocate for working class women. She also published a newspaper called the Woman’s Dreadnought. She often spoke out at venues across the East End, much to the ire of the authorities. Between 1913 and 1914 she was arrested eight times. On each occasion she would be forcibly fed, a brutal practice that left her physically shattered.