People's History Museum
Annie Besant was a prominent philanthropist and champion of human freedom.
Annie was regarded in her time as unconventional and unorthodox in her views. She advocated ideas that were advanced for her time, even if they weren’t popular. Annie was known for being focused and dedicating herself to what she believed in – women’s rights, better quality of life for children and self-rule for British colonies.
Annie Besant was born in 1847 in London, into a middle class Irish family. Besant was a socialist and Fabian, who as a writer and journalist campaigned for women and worker rights. On the 23 June 1888 she published an article in her newspaper, The Link, exposing the poor working conditions at the Byrant and May match factory. The article sparked a walk out of women workers from the factory, and Besant supported these workers to set up a strike committee.
Important dates for Annie Besant
Did you know?
- Annie Besant legally separated from her husband in 1873 even though divorce was frowned upon at the time
- Annie Besant lost custody of her daughter after publicly advocating birth control
- Annie Besant became president of the Union of Women matchmakers.