The Pankhurst Centre: Suffragette base upgrade planned

The Pankhurst Centre Image copyright Google
Image caption The museum is only open one day a week

Plans have been revealed to transform a museum based in the house of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

The new joint owners of The Pankhurst Centre museum, in Manchester, hope to raise £2m-£3m to refurbish the centre, which is only open once a week.

Former owner The Pankhurst Trust has merged with domestic violence charity Manchester Women's Aid.

Mrs Pankhurst, who was born in 1858, was the founder of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU).

Gail Heath, chief executive of Manchester Women's Aid, which has been renting rooms in the centre since 2012, said it would need up to £3m to update, and an appeal campaign was being planned to raise this capital.

'Demolition days'

The museum in Nelson Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, is currently only open on a Thursday, but Ms Heath said the goal was to have it open every day.

"We hope to secure the resources to open the museum on many more days to attract children and young people to hear about their history and the history of the fight for the rights of women," she said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Pankhurst Centre is where the British campaign of votes for women began

Centre manager Rachel Lappin said the centre nearly closed in 1979 when Manchester Royal Infirmary wanted to demolish it during building work at the hospital complex.

It was saved from the bulldozer by a campaign from women's organisations and the formation of The Pankhurst Trust in 1984.

""It really needs renovation and restoration work as there hasn't been any work done on the site for 30 years," she said.

The centre is preparing an application to the National Lottery for heritage capital funding in the next 18 months. It will also apply to other donors and crowd-funding to cover running costs.

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