Express & Star

What the H is going on? Suffragette street sign is still spelt wrong after two years

Iconic suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst battled her whole life for her causes to be recognised by the letter.

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What the H is going on here? Sylvia Pankurst Close

So the titan of 20th Century feminist socialism would be furious the Black Country road named in her honour has been spelt wrong - for two years.

The new estate in Cradley Heath with streets named after famous female political figures should have been a PR win for Sandwell Council and developer GreenSquareAccord.

However, Sylvia Pankurst Close, was close but not correct, the Manchester family who shook British politics to its core, has an H, as in Pankhurst.

Cradley Heath has a unique place in the world's history of females fighting back. Mary MacArthur led her fellow chainmakers against employers in the first ever successful strike to obtain a minimum wage.

Eagle-eyed residents spotted the blunder over 18 months ago but despite calling for the developer GreenSquareAccord and Sandwell Council to put things right, the H is still missing in action.

Cradley Heath Councillor John Tipper, who recently resigned from Labour and is currently on a working holiday in Holland embedded with a Dutch anarchist group, is spearheading the campaign.

He told the Express & Star: "This seems like a very minor issue when people are drowning in debt and unpaid and can't be paid bills are piling up, and it is. But I can't change that, just offer advice - only a new Government can, maybe,

"But since Cradley Heath has a special and distinctive history of female representation and participation in politics it would be nice if this was put right."

He added: "This sign has been like this for what seems years and every day this remarkable woman's name is spelt wrong is a day too long."

Sylvia Pankhurst was part of the early 20th Century political family whose campaigns changed the country's politics forever. Her parents were legal reformer Dr Richard Pankhurst, and Emmeline Pankhurst who founded the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1903, the most militant of the suffrage groups.

Sylvia Pankhurst, in 1920

Sylvia and her sisters cut a swathe through establishment norms as Britain went through seismic societal change before, during and after World War One. Sylvia shunned the more militant of her mother's organisation's methods preferring to concentrate on trying to work on international peace and solidarity.

The WPSU's fight to get women the vote, only if they had property and money, went against Sylvia's fight to gain universal suffrage, whatever the sex and class of the voter. Her stance led to her own mother ostracising her and expelling her from the WSPU.

However, as an anti-Fascist and early adopter of Communism she met Lenin and backed the Russian Revolution, however, true to her beliefs she was not afraid to criticise the Soviet leader when she disagreed with his Bolshevik policies, it earned her a published rebuke from the bald political superstar who was not beyond assassinating anyone who disagreed with him.

Sylvia lived to see universal suffrage and travelled the globe spreading her beliefs before dying in Ethiopia in 1960.

Cradley Heath Councillor Vicki Smith believes the wrongly spelled street sign is an "embarrassment" to the borough of Sandwell.

She said: "Sylvia Pankhurst led an amazing life in which she stuck to her beliefs and helped change the course of history in our country. It is an embarrassment her name has been spelt wrong on what should be an everlasting memorial to her life.

"However, it has been nearly two years now and I fear it will take longer to fix than it took for women to get the vote."