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Serendipity in the Archives – Finding something when least expected!

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In the first winter of the First World War – in 1914 – a number of women from North West England signed the Open Letter to the Women of Austria and Germany in a gesture of sisterhood and solidarity. The letter was instigated by Emily Hobhouse, a Quaker activist who had highlighted the plight of Boers in the South African concentration camps during the Boer War, and she used her contacts across the suffrage, pacifist and socialist networks to get support for the letter. The letter appeared in the radical press in early January 1915. Over 100 women signed it …

IFC – Isabella Forsyth Christie – Later Bews

 

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Isabella Forsyth Christie was a schoolteacher. As far as I know she didn’t do much other than teach. She most certainly isn’t famous, she wasn’t even particularly well known in her day, apart perhaps, amongst the communities where she taught. She was a primary teacher in late nineteenth, early twentieth century Scotland where the curriculum was limited to not much more than good handwriting, bible studies, arithmetic and sewing. It was only because of the sewing that I know anything about her. I was visiting Kinloch Rannoch school in Highland Perthshire with storyteller Claire Hewitt, where we were discussing …

Black & Asian women’s history: enslaved women on ships

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Black and Asian women’s history, as we know, has been very wrongly neglected. For over 20 years until 2011 it was being usefully retrieved – and presented in short, accessible pieces – by publications such as the Black and Asian Studies Association Newsletter. But I’ve just discovered this no longer exists. (For update see  http://www.history.org.uk/resources/general_news_1566.html).

Surely this WHN blog can be one of the e-places where the history of Black and Asian women is still, and increasingly, given the centrality it deserves.

 

Black women on slave ships

Women’s maritime historiography shows us several areas we can explore, …

ASYLUM STAFF RECORDS: A source for studying the Home Front in World War I

Cheshire County Lunatic Asylum

The Cheshire Record Office hold an incomplete set of staff records for the Cheshire County Lunatic Asylum located in Chester. The female staff records that have survived cover the surnames A-G for the years 1914-1946 and P-W (excluding T, U and V) 1909-1940. These records were created principally in order to record superannuation payments under the Asylum Officers’ Superannuation Act 1909, so contain minimal personal information beyond name, date of birth, employment start and end date. In some cases details of previous employment in another Asylum is noted, as is the reason for leaving being “married”.…

Triangle Mill Sisters: hostel life for West Yorkshire textile workers 1920 to 1970

Cotton and wool processing mills were abundant in the beautiful Calder valley in the last century. The demand for women’s low paid labour was so great that employers recruited from all over the UK and often housed relocated workers in special hostels. This collective out-of-hours life is an unexplored aspect of British industrial history. The Triangle Mill Sisters exhibition is the first time, seemingly, that hostel women’s personal experiences have been revealed.

William Morris and Sons had a worsted wool fibre processing factory (demolished in 1987) at Triangle, next to the mill owner’s house, Stansfield Grange. In 1921 the Morris …