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The Hard Way Up: the autobiography of Hannah…

The Hard Way Up: the autobiography of Hannah Mitchell, suffragette and… (1968)

by Hannah Mitchell

Other authors: Geoffrey Mitchell (Editor), Sheila Rowbotham (Preface)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hannah Mitchellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mitchell, GeoffreyEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rowbotham, SheilaPrefacesecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A famous writer in the preface to his own autobiography says: 'Anyone aged sixty or more should have had enough colour in his life to make an interesting story.'
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The Hard Way Up is a unique and absorbing social document--a first-hand account of the life and struggles of a working-class woman who became a leader of the Suffragette and Labour movements in the north of England. Most suffragettes came from the middle-class: this autobiography gives a different side of the picture.

Hannah Mitchell (1871-1956) was born in rural poverty in the remote Peak district of Derbyshire. With only a fortnight's formal schooling, she escaped from a tyrannical mother to the hard life of domestic service and the miseries of a clothing sweat-shop. Marriage, motherhood followed, and through the years the sheer force of her character helped her to extraordinary achievements as a suffragette, Labour Party campaigner, speaker, writer and public figure in the city of Manchester.

The story of her life, told with great simplicity and modesty, was found among her papers on her death. It is a record of extraordinary achievement, but more than that, it is a fascinating account of the lost rural traditions of agricultural England, and of the turbulent social and political changes of this period.
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