- Annie Besant and the 1888 London Matchgirls Strike
The London Matchgirls Strike occurred the same year as Jack the Ripper’s murders in Whitechapel : 1888.
It was in June 1888 that Clementina Black gave a speech at a Fabian Society in London on Female Labour. In the audience, Annie Besant (the Free Thought and Fabian lecturer) was horrified when she heard about the pay and conditions of the women working at the Bryant & May match factory.
Henri Hyde Champion, editor of the Labour Elector, suggested (...)
- Annie Besant and her conversion to theosophy
Annie Wood was born in 1847 in London to a middle-class Irish couple. The premature death of her father left the family in poverty.While relatives paid her brother’s education, Annie was lucky to be admitted free to the home school of a family friend. Her middle-class childhood was marked by economic struggle.
Aged 19, she married an Anglican priest, Frank Besant. But Annie’s progressiveness and Frank’s rigidity constituted a poor match. After divorcing him, she left for (...)
- Margaret Bondfield and Mary Macarthur : their work to organize working women
Margaret Bondfield (1873-1953) and Mary Macarthur (1880-1921) were two women activists who worked to organize working women. They came from diverse backgrounds and had different childhoods but they both became active as trade-union leaders and later as politicians. They met in 1902 and remained close friends and associates until Mary Macarthur’s death in 1921. Margaret Bondfield was born in Chard, Somerset, in 1873, the daughter of a lace-maker with strong nonconformist (...)
- Trade Unions in the 1860s : foreign affairs
The beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1760s marked the emergence of a new social class. The industrial workers soon struggled to obtain the right to organize and form groups, standing for their own protection. The notion of class consciousness deepened from the time of the craft unions concerning only a given type of workers to the general unions : workers realized more and more that they were defined not only by their craft and skill but by their belonging to (...)
- The Mines Act, 1842
By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the growth of both population and industry meant a greater need for coal, the first combustible in Great Britain. Between 1830 and 1865, the coal production, mostly in the North East of England, reached its apogee with approximatively fourty millions tonnes each year. Coal was the major source of British mining incomes through the nineteenth century. The methods of coal extraction were very primitive. The (...)
- The Northern Star : a Chartist newspaper
Chartism was a British working-class movement that sment among the workers at that time and a new radical movement emerged "to protest against the social injustices of the new industrial order in Britain" ( Encyclopedia Britannica). The Northern Star was one of the most important Chartist newspapers of that time .
A popular leader : Feargus O’Connor
In 1837, Feargus O’Connor, a member of the London Working Men’s Association launched The Northern Star , a weekly (...)
- The Trade Union Act of 1871
In Great Britain, during the 19th century, after the repeal of the Combination Acts in 1824-1825, trade unions began existing officially but they were only tolerated. So until the second half of the 19th century, there was not only a struggle for survival reasons but also for the right to exist and to be recognised in front of the upper class of that period which did not accept the trade unions, considering them as dangerous, illegal movements which could be very violent. (...)
- Actions and values of the Chartist movement
Grand Meeting in the Potteries : Northern Star Newspaper, 17th November, 1838 :
On Wednesday morning last, the town of Hanley presented a heart-stirring scene to the lover of liberty. Early in the morning, the drum and fife were heard, announcing that the day had arrived, when the voice of the Potters was to join that of their brethren in the demand for freedom.
At about 9 o’clock, a procession began to move with flags and music to collect the (...)
- The Combination Acts, 1799-1800
When the 18th century began, the guild system was still applied. A guild was composed of several kinds of "class" from the merchants (or large masters) to the apprentices. Power remained in the hands of the merchants. Therefore small masters and journeymen began to form unions of their own to protect themselves, as well as their interests.
Nevertheless they failed to obtain incorporation or the right to create combinations. So the wage-earning class (...)
- A synopsis of the turbulent times of the Framework-knitters in the East Midlands
Stepping back to a period that was relatively seen as one full of disorder and social instability brings to mind the many difficulties framework knitters faced during the beginning of the nineteenth century. Indeed, most all industry in England faced extreme difficulties such as machine breaking, and their causes varied following geographical region, social position, reception of technology and economic situation. The framework-knitters’ situation was more complicated (...)