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Breaking Chains - Commemorating the Women Chainmakers, 1910

Women Chainmakers

16 October 2014

The pioneering work of a formidable group of Black Country women ‘The women chainmakers of Cradley Heath’ will be honoured at an event celebrating their achievements at Black CountryLivingMuseum on Saturday 18 October.

The Black Country, and in particular Cradley Heath, was the centre for chain making in Britain during the 19th century. Smaller chains were often made by women in their own homes, often under horrendous ‘sweatshop’ conditions. In 1910 the Women Chainmakers of Cradley Heath won a fight to establish the right to a fairer wage following a bitter nine week dispute. The employers and unions agreed to a minimum wage of two-and-a-half pence an hour - an amount which equalled a 150 percent pay increase for the poorest of workers.

Music, chainmaking demonstrations, a chainmaking trail, craft activities including banner-making activities, street theatre by Fizzog Productions all set the scene. The highlight of the day will be a re-creation of the strike march at *12.30pm when the women walk to victory once more!   

 

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