This project capitalises on the Edge Hill University records about Ethel Annakin who undertook teacher training at the institution between 1900-2. When Ethel Annakin studied at what was then Edge Hill College, it was a non-denominational teacher training college for women located in the Edge Hill area of Liverpool. Ethel had apparently instated on leaving home to study to become a teacher. To give some additional information – sometime in the years 1900-2 Ethel joined the congregation of Pembroke Baptist Chapel (Baptist church, Pembroke Place, Liverpool) where the radical preacher Rev. Charles Frederic Aked (1864–1941) regularly attracted a congregation of 1,900. Aked advocated social work in the slums of Liverpool and teetotalism. After Ethel listened to Aked’s sermon on ‘Can a Man be a Christian on £1 a week?’ (This was also the title of a lecture by Keir Hardie, date unknown) she became a Christian Socialist. She recalled 30 years later that this sermon by Dr Aked was the turning-point in her life. Around this time Ethel also went into the slums of Liverpool to preach on the evils of drink.
After leaving Edge Hill College, Ethel went on to teach in two schools, in Leeds and then Nelson. In 1905, Ethel resigned her teaching post upon her marriage to Philip Snowden, who was to become the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924). She joined the Leeds Women’s Suffrage Society and the Fabian Society around 1903 and continued to be a passionate public speaker. In September 1903 Ethel made her first public lecture for the Yorkshire Independent Labour Party at Keighley which marked the beginning of nearly two decades of work as a speaker and a writer for socialism and women’s suffrage.
The archive also holds some information about Ethel’s sister, Mabel, who also studied at Edge Hill College.
Dr Christine Lewis, Senior Lecturer – Professional Learning, Faculty of Education Edge Hill University