First in the Fight Book

The Project

In 2019 Women in Print collaborated with authors Helen Antrobus and Andrew Simcock on ‘First in the Fight’; a book commemorating the twenty women who were long-listed in the campaign to have Manchester’s first statue of a woman in over 100 years. Women in Print produced the creative for the book including the cover design and the internal illustrations accompanying each woman’s story.

First in the Fight: 20 Women Who Made Manchester


Emmeline Pankhurst stands proudly in St Peter’s Square, but she stands for so many more… From the women who marched to St Peter’s Fields flying the flag for reform to the first entrepreneurs, the women of Greater Manchester have long stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight for equality and social change. 

The journey for a statue to be erected began in 2014 with The Womanchester Project; a campaign to get a new statue of a radical Manchester woman. In 2016 the public voted to commemorate Emmeline Pankhurst from a long-list of 20 important women. First in the Fight documents the lives of the twenty women who were long-listed in the campaign, who all made Manchester first in the fight for freedom, and feminism.

The Book

Written by Helen Antrobus and Andrew Simcock, First in the Fight features 20 individual, beautifully crafted illustrations and a cover design by Women in Print artists. The stories featured in First in the Fight are those of Margaret Ashton, Lydia Becker, Louise Da-Cocodia, Margaret Downes, Elizabeth Gaskell, Annie Horniman, Sunny Lowry, Kathleen Ollerenshaw, Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst, Sylvia Pankhurst, Mary Quaile, Elizabeth Raffald, Esther Roper, Enriqueta Rylands, Olive Shapley, Shena Simon, Marie Stopes, Ellen Wilkinson and Emily Williamson.

First in the Fight is published by iNostalgia, an independent publishing company based in Manchester that specialises in books that make social history engaging to all through images and memories.  Its publication is supported by Metrolink and Weightmans solicitors. 

The Book Launch

To celebrate the launch of the book we appropriately held the launch party at the national museum of democracy, People’s History Museum. The ideas championed by many of these brave, groundbreaking women are told at the museum, which is also home to the Manchester suffragette banner; the inspiration behind the First in the Fight book cover designed by Jane Bowyer. The evening included an opportunity to see the artwork featured in the book on display as well as book signing with Helen and Andrew.

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank Pressision Ltd for printing the artwork for the launch exhibition and for their continued support.

Women in Print artists at the book First in the Fight book launch