Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960) was born in Manchester but moved to East London in 1912. A free-thinker, atheist, feminist and a life-long fighter for social justice, she chose the poverty stricken East End as an area where she felt she could make a difference.
Sylvia worked full time for the Womens Social and Political Union with her mother and Sister, Emmeline and Christabel, from 1906. However, appalled by the WSPU support for war, she formed the more radical East London Federation of Suffragettes in 1914. In 1915 they took over The Gunmakers Arms at 438 Old Ford Road, Bow. The renamed Mothers Arms became a refuge for women and children suffering deprivation on the home front.
After the war Sylvia moved to Woodford Green where she lived for over thirty years and remained active on many fronts. One of her campaigns was to make aerial bombardment unlawful, sadly defeated at the Geneva Convention in 1932. The memorial she commissioned just off the High Road in Woodford to commemorate the victims of such warfare was restored in 2014 to mark the centenary World War I.