Labor History Today and the magnificant Matchgirls

I was delighted to be able to help Chris Garlock with the latest edition of his Labor History Today podcast.

When Chris and his wife Lisa visited the UK last month, we took the opportunity to tour London’s East End in the footsteps of the Matchgirls – the 1400 women and girls working at Bryant and May’s match factory who went on strike in 1888 to demand an end to brutal working conditions. (Spoiler alert – they won).

Armed with fantastic briefing from the Matchgirls Memorial Trust, sturdy shoes and a Zoom H5 recorder, we were blessed with sunshine and blue skies. The only challenges of note were competing with the street sounds and finding the words to really put across the significance of what we were looking at.

Chris has done a fine job of editing what amounts to a mountain of audio. There’s historical fact, political analysis, a vigorous debate on the provenance of commemorative plaques, and great use of other Matchgirls’ material to give depth and flavour to the story.

You can listen to the tour at bit.ly/461dP6b and the UnionDues special episode on the Matchgirls’ strike is here, with the companion blog here.

Chris tells me he has plenty of audio left over for other parts of the tour, so I guess it’s a case of “watch this space.”

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