North West LABOUR HISTORY journal
No 44, 2019 - 20
The Peterloo bicentennial enables this Journal to offer a salutary reminder that the acquisition of political rights was a lengthy, hard struggle and their maintenance an ongoing challenge.
As our major articles reveal, Radicalism was not a male preserve. Mary Fildes, president of the Manchester Female Reform Society was present at St. Peter's Fields, holding a banner with the cap of liberty on the pole. Yvonne Eckerlsey's article notes that six days before Peterloo the Bolton and Warrington magistrates considered 'the Female Reformers' in the area to be a serious threat as they were planning 'to act a conspicuous part, by addressing the assemblage from the hustings, and furnishing a cap of liberty'.
In June 1993 activist Vanessa Unsworth told the North West People's March Against Unemployment and Pit Closures 'probably now, more than ever before, the role of women in society is paramount to the survival of this generation and the future generations'. Pierre Botcherby's article documents this struggle. Peter Cresswell recalls the remarkable but now largely forgotten strike of Liverpool City Council typists in 1981.
There are two perspectives on Emmeline Pankhurst. The first by Terry Wyke completes his study of Mrs Pankhurst's attempts to become a successful retailer.
The second, contributed by David Hargreaves, examines the impact of the First World War on Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst and their rightward odyssey.
While we welcome these articles as part of our rationale in recalling women's struggles, we do hope that more women will send their histories to us. Like Radicalism our history should not be a male preserve !
We are pleased to publish a further extract from the autobiography of the redoubtable Alice Foley who was the first woman to be a full time trade union official in the cotton industry.
We are grateful to Culcheth Local History Group for bringing to life what would otherwise have been an unknown figure - Thomas Unsworth, A Ticket Of Leave Man. A project very much in line with the philosophy of the North West Labour History Society.
As always I am grateful to our Book Review Editor David Hargreaves, Advertising Editor James Rees, Designer Mike Carter, the Editorial Board, our contributors, reviewers, advertisers and of course to you, our readers.