The daughter of a Bristol businessman, Emmeline was born in 1867, the second of 13 children. Sent to a boarding school at the age of eight, she was a rebellious child and often in trouble with her teachers who thought her a 'corrupting influence' on other children.
On the suggestion of a close family friend Mark Guy Pearse, Emmeline, aged 24, travelled to London in 1891 to join the West London Mission where she met Mary for the first time. A strong friendship between the two women was to last a life-time. After leaving the West London Mission in 1895, they took up residence together in a flat in Somerset Terrace and shared many friends, ideals and adventures. They both write in their autobiographies of 'dreaming the impossible dream'. Emmeline married Fred Lawrence in 1901 to become Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and went onto become a formidable organising energy with the WSPU under the Pankhursts. Read extracts from her autobiography My Part In A Changing World here.
Mary went to live with the Pethick-Lawrences in 1940. Emmeline, then Lady Pethick-Lawrence died in 1954.