When: 6th July 2013, 11am – 11pm
Where: Bishopsgate Institute, London
£: Free (visit www.matchwomensfestival.com to get your free tickets)
What is it?
The London matchwomen’s strike of 1888 was a strike by the women and teenage girls working at the Bryant and May Factory in Bow.
Poor working conditions in the match factory, including fourteen-hour work days, poor pay, excessive fines and the severe health complications of working with white phosphorus caused the women to walk out.
This was no mean feat as the company was far more powerful than the poor working class employees. However, their strength and solidarity won them support and revealed the terrible conditions they had endured. Within two weeks they had won their fight and the right to form the largest union of women in the country.
Their victory helped begin the modern trade union movement but the Matchwomen’s brave fight is rarely given the credit it is due.
The Matchwomen’s Festival aims to put this right by having a ‘knees-up’ with music, comedy, poetry, politics, stalls, and food and drink. Speakers and performers at the festival will include Tony Benn, John Hegley, Bill Oddie, Michael Rosen, the Social Choir and author Kate Connelly who has written a book about Sylvia Pankhurst.
More info: www.matchwomensfestival.com