In July 1888, fourteen hundred women and girls employed by the matchmakers Bryant and May walked out of their East End factory and into the history books. Louise Raw gives us a challenging new interpretation of events proving that the women themselves, not celebrity socialists like Annie Besant, began it. She provides unequivocal evidence to show that the matchwomen greatly influenced the Dock Strike of 1889, which until now was thought to be the key event of new unionism, and repositions them as the mothers of the modern labour movement. Returning to the stories of the women themselves, and by interviewing their relatives today, Raw is able to construct a new history which challenges existing accounts of the strike itself and radically alters the accepted history of the labour movement in Britain.
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About the Author
Louise Raw is a Labour historian with a background in the Trade Union movement and political campaigning. She has spoken throughout the world and in the media about her research into the matchwomen's strike, and writes a monthly column for The Morning Star.She has appeared on television and radio as well as delivering many talks in the local and Union communities.
Table of ContentsIntroduction, Methodology and Previous Literature\1. Angels in the House and Factory Girls\ 2. Haunted by the Woman Question: the Victorian Labour Movement and Women Workers\3. Life, Work and Politics in the Victorian East End\4. Liberals and Lucifers: Bryant&May and Matchmaking\5. The 'Notorious' Annie Besant: the Strike Leaders Reconsidered\6. 'One Girl Began': the Strike and the Matchwomen\7. The Matchwomen, the Great Dock Strike and New Unionism\Bibliography\Index