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Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

No, not the modern ones, although. if you came back to life, from over a hundred years ago, you possibly wouldn't be able to tell the difference. No offence, if you happen to be a woman reading this, it's just an observation. There were just not that many ways to earn a living in the 18th or19th centuries, especially if you were female, out in the fields, labouring, weaving from dawn till dusk, hammering nails in a dirty shed, lugging lumps of clay across a Brickyard, or leaving home to be a domestic servant. Exploitation was the order of the day, and I don't just mean by employers either. It's a sad fact of life, that given the circumstances, boy meets girl, and ends with the enevitable consequences. No one bats an eyebrow today, but back then, the lustfull consequences, cost the Parish a great deal of money. The forerunner of todays Child Support Agency, local Parish worthies, were very keen to recoup the expense of looking after so many " base-born " children. and some of the stories are recorded in many Parish Registers. As are some of the miscreants, who wouldn't pay up. To be fair, it wasn't always the mens fault, some women seemed to be addicted, to having children out of wedlock. Morals were also a bit on the lax side as well, another area that today, seems to have changed very little. ( another observation I should add ) Take young Eve Beard for instance, who was born in Hagley, about 1812. She was sent to help out, as a chamber-maid, to her Uncles establishment in Alton, Staffordshire, 'THe White Hart'. Not surprisingly, with little else to do after work, she took up with a young man, a miller, employed by Joseph Salt. He was Salt's best worker, and had an excellent reputation around the region, which took a severe dent, when Eve announced she was ' expecting '. Her Uncle did what was concidered right at the time, he sent her back home. When she arrived, they threw her out, and the Parish stepped in. Taken before a " Bastardy Examination Board ", oh yes, they had one of those, she had to name the father, and the Parish Constable set off to " bring him to book ". Warned of the officers coming, the young man made himself very scarce, but to no avail, as the cunning officer sneaked back unnoticed, a few days later, and the game was up. So John Moore, the man named as the father, found himself with a pretty hefty bill to pay. First he had to pay for the cost of the birth, £1. 4s, then £2. 9s for his capture, 2s a week maintenance, and because he had tried to run away, a fine of £2. 9s as well. Served him right in the end.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 16, 2011 at 11:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Unicorn
Member
Posts: 46

Nothing has really changed has it.

May 16, 2011 at 1:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Well the only thing that seems to have moved on, is that the State picks up the bill today. It would appear, that most of the feckless fathers escape any sanction at all. There were times in the past, when a good religious Minister, could lift the low or non-exsistant morals of a given area. Take Lye Waste for instance, a district noted many times for the lawlessness of it's occupants. In 1801, it was recorded, that of 288 baptism's in the area, only 8 were of the type described as ' base-born '. That must have come as a shock, to those who derided the drunkeness and behaviour they had seen. It didn't last long though. Our Old friend, The Rev George Barrs, was not so happy in Rowley Regis though. He noted in the Parish Register, that one baptism he carried out, for Jonothan Smith, and Mary Moseley, the subject being their young son, also Jonothan, was not all it seemed. The couple were not married he wrote, and Smith already had a wife, who he also managed to get in the family way. The rate of ' base-born,' was also higher than in Lye, not a happy man was the Rev Barrs. The Parish Constable in Oldbury, surprisingly, was not rushed off his feet chasing wayward fathers. The inhabitants were either being well behaved, or the Girls in Oldbury were a perticulary ugly bunch. Wednesbury was not far behind in the morality stakes either. Concidering the vast increase in the population, it being a ' boom town ', the main problem appeared to stem from established families, whose young women rarely ever stopped at just the one illegitimate birth. Now doesn't that seem to have modern overtones. Some young women were extremely lucky. For at least a few, who were domestic servants, they never got thrown out of their employers house's. Elizabeth Sutton, had three children, while in servant quarters at Himley, ( The Earl of Dudleys residence ) and it's not hard to work out why. The clue is in her surname, it being the name of the Earls until the Wards came along. A great many of the Girls, relied on the laws of settlement, which gave them, and any offspring, married or not, the right to Parish relief. Once lost, it was really difficult to regain, ( see, Hasburys own Ghost ) and could mean the difference between life and starvation. It's also one of the reasons that divorce was almost unthinkable until the 20th century started. Unlike today, fathering illegitimate children was very much frowned on, and in 1743, it got even tougher. A promise to pay up was no longer good enough under this new Act, and the offender had to provide a bond, to indemnifiy the Parish against any future costs. This bond, and in some case's 2 bonds, was in the form of a guarantee from men of good standing. It was never less than £40 each, a substantial sum of money at the time. There were always men, who, for a variety of reasons, vary rarely paid what they were ordered to. 2 shillings a week, per child, put a dent into the beer money, 4 shillings reduced it even further, but 6 shillings, which is what Abel Hill was facing, was just too much. In 1822, when told he was going to be a father for the third time, he simple took them all for a walk by the canal in Bilston, slit her throat, and  threw her, and his 2 other children, off a bridge. Some young girls, abandoned, or encouraged by drunken brutes, just killed their new born children. Many ended up being hung, and as usual, the men escaped, only to cast an eye around, and start all over again. As far as the financial side goes, today we are all better off, as for the morals, looking around, we still have a very long way to go.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 18, 2011 at 3:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

From the very start of the Industrial revolution though, the women played a vital role. They were the mainstay in the Brick Works that sprang up, and something that has been covered in another topic. Most people would associate women and mining, with the " Pit Bank Wenches ". They did of course work alongside the men in many areas, hewing and loading coal at the face. During one mine inspection in the 1830s, the Inspector was outraged, to find women down the pit, stripped to the waist, alongside the men. This was not illegal, anyone could work down a pit, but it was the moral questions that bothered the more uptight citizens. It was more than one child who was conceived in some dark mine. Some women were killed or crippled in mines, and just like the deaths of young children, the owners shied away from any puplicity of the subject. Religious leaders eventually saw to it the practice was curtailed, but women continued to work at mines, emptying the tubs of coal and waste. They started young at this back breaking work, and the more experienced ones got promoted, from Pit Bank Labourer, to the more upmarket, Banksman. Now this job entailed unhooking full tubs of coal from the chains of the Winding Gear, and, depending whether or not they contained coal or waste, hooked them to an endless rope, which pulled them away from the pithead. The reverse process was required when the empty tubs went back down, and the Banksman had to be both agile, and careful. It was almost enevitable, that accidents would occur, and so they did, sometimes with fatal results, as the women wore more voluminois clothes than the men.


Born in Sedgley in 1832, Charlotte Ferreday came from some tough mining stock. Her father moved the family, in 1845, to a small cottage on the Wednesbury to Walsall Turnpike, and got a job at the Old Park Colliery, owned by Llyods and Fosters. Charlotte began work on the pit bank when she had just turned 12, the family was fairly big, and every penny earned, was vital to putting food on the table. She was good at the job, and, in time, became a fully fledged Banksman, which is the job she was doing, on the 18th June, 1853. Pushing an empty tub up to the downshaft, she was supposed to hook it on the shafts chain, but for some reason, maybe she was thinking of something else, she shoved it too far. Losing her footing, she stumbled, caught her clothing on the chain hooks, and both she, and the tub, fell straight down the 350 foot shaft. Not widely reported at the time, but it didn't escape the mine Inspecters attention. 1857 was a bad year for Bilston. In the March, Mary Cannon, 27, and a married woman with two children, was employed in the same job. She also came from mining stock being a native of Hadley, Shropshire, but now living in Goldthorn Hill, Wolverhampton. She was employed by Jones & Murcroft, at their Ettingshall Colliery, in Bilston. Once again she was pushing the empty tubs toward the pit shaft when she seems to have pushed too hard. Still gripping the edge of the tub, and oblivious to the danger, down she went, almost 450 feet to the very bottom of the mine. There was a suspicion, that she may have stopped on the way to work, at a local Beer house. Recording a verdict of accidental death, the Coroner expressed the opinion, that this work was totally unsuitable for a women, being far too dangerous. Six months later, he would have cause to use the self same words. Rebecca Vincent, a 45 year old  local single woman, from Wolverhampton Street, Bilston, had for many years been a pit bank labourer. Blackwell & Company had promoted her to Banksman just a year before, at their Wallbutts Colliery. On the morning of the 9th September,1857 she put out her hand to take hold of the chain to hook on an empty tub, and completely missed. Losing her footing on the coal strewn shaft top, she disappeared into the depths of the mine, narrowly missing killing a young 13 year old waiting at the bottom to receive the empty tubs. Hoping that his message would get through this time, the Coroner accepted the accidental death verdict. He must have been wondering just how many more had to die before the practice stopped, as just a month before, this time in Willenhall, he had used the same words again. Mary Boycott, who worked at the Neachells Colliery, owned by Thomas Davis & Sons, had managed to exactly copy the sad death of Rebecca Vincent. She was just turned 20, and was filling in for another woman, who was too drunk to leave the pub, having been in there all night. Again, it was suspected that her drinking companion had been young Mary, but it wasn't raised at the Inquest. Never speak ill of the dead they say.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 23, 2011 at 3:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now a gentleman from Bilston, one of the Towns Chemist's, Robert Bew, had a few words to say about the woman who worked the Pit banks. It wasn't very complimentary either.


" The banks-women are the lowest and most degraded class, they stand at the pit-mouth all day, and receive skips as they come up. There are generally two at each pit-mouth. They are there from six in the morning until six at night. Their dinners are sent to them, and if they are mothers, they do not see their children all day. The girls on the pit-bank do that kind of work which the men ought to do; exposed to the weather all day. There is a little house near the pit-mouth for them to run into occasionally. ( called the Hovel ) When the men come up at night, half -stripped, they change their clothes in this building, and these girls are mixing with them. These girls are generally in their teens, seldom above twenty, and become very immoral and obscene.


Another letter, in the same vein, followed Mr Bew's, this one from Darlaston, and made clear he wasn't happy either.


There are a great number of illegitimate children here, many of the girls have from three to four children each, and they work for and support their children and themselves without a murmer. The effects of early work, perticulary in forges and on the pit-bank, render these girls perfectly independent. They often enter the beer-shops, call for their pints and smoke their pipes, like men. Indeed, there seems little difference in their circumstances from those of the men, except they are the chief sufferers.


Now you may think, that like the two letter writers, that conditions in the Black Country were bad. Up North in Lancashire, things were, shall we say, somewhat different. Judge for yourself.


I was married at 23, and went into a colliery when I married, I used to weave when about 12 years old and can neither read nor write. I work for Andrew Knowles of Little Bolton and make sometimes 7 shillings a week, sometimes not so much. I am a drawer, and work from six in the morning until six at night. Stop for about an hour at  noon to eat my dinner. I have bread and butter for my dinner. I get no drink. I have two children but they are to young to work. I worked at drawing ( pulling skips filled with coal, from the face to the pit-bottom ) when I was in the family way. I know a woman who has gone home and washed herself, taken to her bed, been delivered of a child, and gone to work again in under a week. I have a belt round my waist, and a chain passing between my legs, and I go on my hands and feet. The road is very steep and we have to hold on by a rope, and when there is no rope, by anything we catch hold of. There are six women and about six girls and boys in our pit and the water comes over our clog tops always. I have seen it up to my thighs; it rains in at the roof terribly. My clothes are wet through almost all day long. I was never ill in my life but when I was lying-in. My cousin looks after my children in the day time. I am very tired when I get home at night. I fall asleep sometimes before I get washed. I am not as strong as I was and cannot stand my work so well as I used to. I have drawn till I have had the skin off me. The belt and chain is worse when we are in the family way. My feller ( her husband ) has beaten me many a time for not being ready. I were not used to it at first and he had little patience. I have known many a man beat his drawer. I have known men take liberties with the drawers and some of the women have bastards.


Now if that doesn't cause you a little shudder, nothing will. It makes the life in the Midland Coal fields sound like a doddle. The year by the way, was 1842, quite some way from the Suffragettes long struggle for Womens Lib, and conditions today.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 25, 2011 at 3:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Sedgley, a small village, set atop a series of hills, midway between Wolverhampton and Dudley. Never a place of vast riches, nor a place of huge and grand houses, and it could be said, still the same today. Way back in time, it was a place of desperate poverty, the inhabitatants subsisting on agricultural pursuits, nail making, and coal mining. Since the Industrial revolution, most of it having passed them by, the people have had to travel to obtain work. To the mines and Iron works of Bilston and Dudley, and to the Industries of Wolverhampton, the young men and women trudged the weary miles each day. One of them, sparked a Government enquiry, but only after she had died a horrible death. Harriett Ann Walters, was born at number 14 Stone Street, Sedgley, just off Castle Street, in 1876. ( It was a tumble down wreak even then ) Her father, William Walters, was a blacksmith, and her mother Flora, a nailmaker. Like all the folk they dwelt amongst, they were dirt poor. When Harriet was old enough, she found work with a firm in Wolverhampton, Ralph and Jordan, who were engaged in the Enamelling Trade. Now if you have ever seen the old fashiond metal adverts, for Colmans Mustard, Cadbury's, Fry's, and a whole lot more, you will get the idea of the work she was doing. The word used to describe the finish was " Japanning ", a trade that Wolverhampton was justifiably famous for. What they didn't want to be associated with though, was the almost indescribable working conditions, and the use of a deadly poison, Lead. The air breathed by the young women was thick with the dust of it, often no masks were used, and no washing facilties exsisted in the factory. So the girls went home, bodies and clothes impregnated with the Lead dust, little knowing the effects it would have. Before long, young Harriett had lost her appetite, developed violent headaches, so bad, she resorted to immersing her head in buckets of water. She was frequently sick, the colour of what she bought up, matching the colour of the enamel she had been working with that day. She had many trembling attacks, and a thin blue line, the classic symtoms of Lead Poisoning, around her gums. On the 12th June, 1893, Harriett Ann Walters died, at her home, in Tower Street, Sedgley. She was just turned 17. The inquest, held at " The Pig and Whistle ", called it accidently death, but Sedgley's outspoken medic, Doctor St Claire Ballenden, was having non of it. He quickly reported, that he was currently treating over 20 girls with the same complaint, and the number from the last 2 years was around 200. He was joined in his protest by Frederick Holmer, Sedgley's famous Mission founder, and eventually, their angry voices were heard in Parliament. The Home Secretary, Herbert Asquith, was forced to announce an immediate enquiry, and the National Press decended on Sedgley like a plague of Locusts.


Now Sedgley, being where it is, has never had, nor is ever likely to have a Railway Station. That must have come as a bit of a shock to the august members of the Press. Describing the town as " a tumble-down little place, consisting mainly of one long street, the air filled with the noxious fumes of nearby Bilston, Wolverhampton and Dudley. The people are very poor, the women folk having faces of sunken cheeks and pallid complexions. Nearly every one of the women we interviewed displayed signs of Lead Poisoning ". It transpired, that poor Harriett, had been working up to 55 and a half hours a week, sometimes for as little as 2 shilling and 7 pence. The work was all classed as piecework. A witness at the enquiry, Annie Harrison, who lived a few doors from the lately deceased Harriett, explained that she had been very sick, after working at this firm for a few short weeks. When asked about the washing arrangements, she said that up until Harriets death, there had been non, but now, they were provided with pails of clean water, and face masks. Another witness who gave evidence was clearly very ill, and a few weeks afterwards, died at her Gospel End Street home. Before her sad demise, Harriet had changed jobs, and gone to work for another enammelling firm, Orme, Evans, and Company, in Little Brick Kiln Street, Wolverhampton. The works foreman, a Mr Kinnersley, suggested that it was the girls fault, as they would keep taking off the respirators provided. He further stated, that in his opinion, the young girls were not fed properly by their families, which contributed to a decline in their health. He did not recieve much support from the press in his assessment of the cause of Harriets death. The medical report though, while not showing that Harriet was starving to death, did highlight the general lack of money, for families to buy enough food. The Chairman of the enquiry, summing up, said that the daily walk, of over 3 miles to work, given her weak disposition, and the fact that she didn't eat breakfast, contributed to her death. All fine and dandy, as far as the enquiry went, but what they didn't say, was that it's impossible to eat anything, while continually being sick, and throwing up stomach contents that change colour every day. Oh dear, I do hope you weren't planning to eat a meal just about now.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

July 27, 2011 at 3:32 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

A great many accidents were caused by the people employed to work the machinery. A moments in-attention, by the man driving the pits winding gear, could, and often did, lead to almost instant death. Emma Johnson, 24, who lived in Walsall, was employed as a banksman at the Darlaston Green Colliery.  As already noted, this was a dangerous occupation. On the morning of 3rd October,1859, she was unhooking the last of the loaded coal tubs, when her clothing caught in the winding chains. Dispite several warning shouts, the driver did not shut down the gear, and poor Emma was dragged upwards into the pulleys. It later transpired, that the engine man was not even in the shed while the tubs were coming up. His absence was never fully explained, which was no consolation to Emma's mother, whose daughter had been almost cut in half. Hartland and Company, the mine owners, did at least pay for the funeral. It was not only the young either that were in danger. At the Gospel Oak Colliery, in Tipton, the owners, Grazebrook and Aston, employed the older women as well. Esther Badger, a 62 year old widow, and the oldest death I have found so far, had a job oiling the wheels of the tubs as they passed daily, up and down the shaft. In September 1883, she slipped on the loose coal that was supposed to be regulary cleared away, and was run over by a loaded tub. Her lower legs were badly mutilated, the left one only held on by a few muscle tendons. She died two hours after the accident, just before the surgeon arrived, not that he could have done much to save her life anyway. Just one of the many jobs that women had to do, to earn money to survive. As far as equality is concerned, it started long before most people realise, the only difference was in the money earned. Now where have I heard that one before.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 7, 2011 at 9:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

There's no doubt that the women of the Blackcountry, as elsewhere, suffered some appalling conditions trying to earn a bit of money. If it wasn't the old man drinking away all the money at the nearest Pub, it was the so called " employer ", cheating them out of a decent payment for all their efforts. It's a strange thing, and I may have mentioned it before, but some of these employers went on to become very well known engineering firms, but sadly, when writing a history of their success, there's no mention of all the exploitation. No acknowledgment of the virtual slavery, their low payments for Chains committed many families to. No mention of the repeated attempts to lower further the cost they had to pay. No mention of the dreadful " Truck System " many of them used. Some people believe that Mary Macarthur put paid to all this, far from it, she just jumped on the bandwagon for the Publicity. The increase that was "granted", ( already passed in Parliament as a National Minimun level for workers ) was fiercely resisted by the buyers of cheap chain, and it took 10 weeks to get them to agree. ( Not listed again in many firms histories )  Tuppence ha'penny it was, ( about 1p today ) and even after this, many women failed to gain anything at all. Mainly the older women, and those with large families, or widowed, made up the dwindling makers of handmade chain. Most of them it seems, still content to slave away in filthy and draughty outhouses, and they actually cheered when they " won ". The one thing that really put paid to all this, was the start of the Great War, in 1914. With so many many away, and the vast loss'es on the battlefields, woman at last came to the fore, and they didn't let the Country down.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 10, 2012 at 4:46 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

While we are on the subject of the " War to end all Wars ", the following little piece may come in useful. In 1915, the British Army, fighting deperately to stem the flow of the enemy, began to run very low on Shells and Ammunition. In the face of this crisis, Factories sprang up all over the place. The recently demolished B.T.H Works, situated in Cakemore Road, Blackheath, and the old Firth Vickers Works in Narrow Lane, Hurst Green, Halesowen, were originally constructed, in 1914, to produce Munitions. There were others, in both Dudley and Wolverhampton, and I was wondering if anyone can locate them? The workforce for these factories, were recruited from the female population, as obviously, the men were away fighting and getting killed. The woman responded in droves, one, it was a chance to do something other than becoming a domestic servant, and two, it was far better paid. These women quickley aquired a nickname, " Munitionettes ". In 1914, the workforce around the Country numbered 212,000, and by the start of 1918, there were a Million of them. It was dangerous work, several small local explosions occured, but nothing like the scale at the bigger " Filling Factories ".  At Barnbow, Leeds, in December 1916, 35 were killed after an explosion in the fusing rooms. At Silvertown, London, 73 were killed in 1917, but the largest loss of life followed a massive blast at Chilwell, Nottingham, in 1918, which killed 134; Only 32 of whom could be positively identified. By far the biggest killer though; over 400, were the chemicals used in the process. Sulpher, which turned the skin yellow, led to a futher nickname, " Canaries ". Then there was Nitric and Sulphuric Acid, Nitroglycerine, Gun Cotton, Trinitrotoluene, ( TNT ) mixed with Ammonium Nitrate, to make the explosive Amatol. So tough and hardy were these women, that after an accident that partly destroyed the works or killed a workmate, they were back at work the next day. The wages were good as well, some women earning well over the wages of the men. They were even known to buy drinks for the soldiers who were home on leave, or recuperating from wounds. If your granny, or your mother was amongst them, as mine was, you were bought up by an unsung hero; and a tough old hero at that.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 28, 2012 at 11:43 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

There's one line of work that I haven't as yet covered, and if anyone believes, that some Black Country Wenches didn't  take it up ( no pun intended ) you might as well believe day doesn't follow night. Even in the small villages, there was always a place a man could go for a bit of " relaxation ". During the 18th century, and well into the next, house's of ill repute, or Bawdy House's, were a feature of all large towns and City life. They provided a place where the male members of society could " let off " a bit of steam so to speak. They also sheltered rogues of all sorts, and were under constant threat of being raided and closed down. For some women, they afforded a safer place to ply their trade than the streets, but not safe from the scourge of the age, veneral desease. When the Bawdy houses became a bit too bawdy, the people who ran it, usually other women, could find themselves sentenced to the dreaded ordeal of the town's PIllory.  This was the fate of one of Londons infamous madames, Mother Needham. Sentenced to be pilloried over several days, and then whipped through the streets, she was so badly injured on the second ocassion, that she died before the next one was due. This, dispite her proclaiming that she had merely been supplying a valuable service to the population, which, depending on your point of view, she had. Almost all the towns of the Blackcountry had a Pillory, situated in a prominent part of the High Street or Market place. This made it handy, for the supply of rotton fruit which peole used as ammunition, as well as piles of animal, and human waste. Victorian England and it's so called better morals, did nothing to change any of this, except that the Pillory was done away with. A woman, who found herself alone in the world, could earn more than enough working in a brothel, to keep herself from starving. The dreaded " French Pox ", as it was called, with no real cure, left it's mark on many, cutting short the career of such woman, and forcing them to take to the dark streets, where it wouldn't be so noticable. No shortage of customers either, for the working man, with a few pennies spare, and out for a bit of sport after a night on the beer, was easy prey for the Black Country Wench. All this "activity" led to a fairly common problem today, the missing names of fathers on many Birth Certificates. Now I'm not suggesting, that every time you may come across this problem, the Mother was actually  " on the Game " as the saying goe's. It's just that during times of severe unemployment, money has to be earned from somewhere, and lets face it, you don't need any skill at all to take up this trade. There was never much distance, between the inhabitants of most places, and the Workhouse. Bear in mind as well, that during both World Wars, there was an enforced blackout, plenty of Soldiers about, and sadly, a great many widows who suddenly found they had no income. In the overall scheme of things, Black Country Wenches would have been no different to their working sisters say in Manchester, Leeds, or London. They just spoke with a funny accent.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 25, 2013 at 4:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

In a post above, I mentioned the struggle waged by some women who were known as Suffragettes. Most folk that the main object was to just gain the right to Vote, but the aims went much deeper than that. Social reform, Better wages and condition, the right to actually work, and full democracy for all women were some of the varied targets. Some groups of women refused to pay taxes, and lobbied their MPs constantly for change. Others took more drastic measures, and turned to damaging property to gain publicity and support . When a Liberal Government was elected in 1906, it was expected to grant some of the reforms that were in fact, long overdue. In fact, the new Government rejected no less than 7 Suffrage Bills. Violent demonstrations were stepped up, and those arrested began a campaign of Hunger strikes.



Faced already, with an all male Government, those who had some sympathy for the cause, backed off, as a backlash developed. However, the treatment dished out to the hunger-strikers, caused outrage, and the start of the War, combined with the effort put into the production of armaments by the workforce of women, ensured that the demands would be eventually granted.



We have an election looming this May, and it may be worthwhile, to take a moment, and reflect on the struggles of the women of this Country to gain a vote, before you decide not to bother to excercise your right to vote.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 23, 2015 at 12:35 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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