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Book launch – Minnie Lansbury: suffragette, socialist, rebel councillor

February 13, 2019 @ 17:30 - 19:00

You must register for this event by booking a free ticket here. Capacity is limited.


  • Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, Kings Cross, London NW1 1DU


  • Janine Booth, author

  • Clive Lewis MP


  • Michelle Rodgers, RMT National President


A launch event for Janine Booth’s recently-published biography of Minnie Lansbury, held in the Boardroom of the RMT union’s headquarters. Refreshments will be provided. Signed copies of the book will be available for sale.

Minnie Glassman was born in the East End in 1889, the daughter of improverished Jewish immigrants who had fled antisemitic persecution in Eastern Europe. She grew up to be a teacher and trade unionist and married Labour politician George Lansbury’s son Edgar. Minnie gave up her job and became the full-time assistant secretary of the east London suffragettes, working closely with Sylvia Pankhurst. She opposed the Great War and worked hard to support its victims. Minnie welcomed the Russian Revolution and joined the Communist party when it was formed in 1920.

When Labour swept to power in the 1919 local elections, Poplar council appointed Minnie to the post of Alderman. She and her fellow councillors dramatically improved services, but faced financial crisis in 1921 when the economy crashed and unemployment spiralled. They decided to defy the unfair council funding system, and were sent to prison. They won their fight, but Minnie’s health was damaged by her spell in prison and she died on New Year’s Day 1922, aged only 32. Tens of thousands of mourners marched through the East End at her funeral.

Minnie Lansbury’s experiences and struggles are directly relevant to today’s labour movement, and provide an inspiring example of a Jewish woman from an immigrant community making a significant contribution to our movement.

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