Sponsor a brick for Mary MacArthur
UNISON Scotland has backed a 'sponsor a brick' campaign to
honour the memory of Scottish trade unionist Mary MacArthur.
In 1910 the women Chainmakers of Cradley Heath embarked upon
a ten week lock-out, led by Mary MacArthur. The women's campaign
and ultimate victory would establish the beginnings of Britain's
minimum wage movement.
The strike, which attracted international support, raised
almost £3,000 in strike funds - part of which was used to
build the Worker's Institute in Lomey Town, Cradley Heath.
The Black Country Living Museum has now moved to rescue the
building by re-locating it to the Museum's 26-acre open-air
site in Dudley, hence the 'sponsor a brick' campaign.
Mary Macarthur, was born in Glasgow in 1880. She became active
in the shopworkers union and the Independent Labour Party
in London where she worked with two other Scots, James Keir
Hardie and Ramsay MacDonald.
Mary was involved in the Exhibition of Sweated Industries
in 1905 and in forming the Anti-Sweating League in 1906. The
following year she founded the Women Worker, a newspaper for
women trade unionists. She was an inspirational figure and
recruited many women into the movement.
Active in the fight for the vote, she was opposed to accepting
the franchise for only certain categories of women. This made
her unpopular with middle class suffragettes who saw limited
suffrage as an important step in the struggle to win the vote.
As Mary MacArthur died at the young age of 40 she has been
largely forgotten by the general public.
Mary MacArthur's story is one UNISON Scotland wants to bring
to a wider audience. For more on how you can sponsor a brick
(for just £10) see www.bclm.co.uk.
For more information on Mary see www.electricscotland.com/history/women/wih28.htm
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