Tag Archives: women

Margaret Bondfield: First (but not Last) in the Field

Margaret Bondfield

If Margaret Bondfield, who, in her day, was the most senior and recognisable woman in the Labour and trade union movements, could see this year’s version of Labour Conference she would be amazed, and not just by the technology. But she might also have felt real pride as Angela Rayner, the new Deputy Leader of the Party took to the virtual stage.

Margaret Bondfield – ‘Our Maggie’, as she was known – was one of the first examples of a female working-class political activist who was made in her trade union. Born in 1871 into a poor and numerous family in the West Country, she was sent at the age of fourteen to be apprenticed as a shopworker in Brighton, where an older sister lived. Continue reading

Three Women: Edith Nesbit, Edith Lanchester and Eleanor Marx

Edith Nesbit

The announcement this week that civil partnerships would be made available to heterosexual couples reminded me of the lives (and in one case, death) of three women I read about whilst researching my book, The Women in the Room: Labour’s Forgotten History.

The first, Edith Nesbit, is by far the best known nowadays, at least outside Labour circles. In later life she wrote some of the best-loved children’s books ever published, including The Railway Children, but her private life was not at all what might have been expected of an Edwardian children’s author. Continue reading