Friday, March 09, 2018

In Coalbrookdale

Today we drove down to the Shropshire village of Coalbrookdale and The Museum of Iron to see the new installation there.

Across the green outside the Museum of Iron are thirty seven silhouette figures of the women who worked in the industries in and around Coalbrookdale and who, on 6th February 1918, became eligible to vote in parliamentary elections for the first time.

Just thirty seven out of the one hundred and sixty women working in the ceramic and iron industries in the region were granted the right to vote.  Of those thirty seven only thirteen had the right to vote in their own right the others were allowed a vote because their husband's status qualified him to vote.

Women could only vote if they were over thirty years old or if they or their husband owned a certain amount of property.  The right of all men and women aged twenty one and over to vote took another ten years and was finally achieved when the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 was passed.

The silhouettes looked wonderful spread out across the green in front of the Museum of Iron.  Each one has the name of a woman worker and their job description.

It was quite sobering to walk amongst them and think about how hard they would have worked.  Some of the job descriptions of the women were many and varied, encaustic tile maker, mosaicist, pipe maker, tobacco pipe packer, gold burnisher and china print transferer to name but a few sound like skilled and repetitive work.  The women's ages ranged from thirty years old to the eldest, Emma Glaze who was 77 and a ground layer at the Coalport factory, this is a part of the decorating process by which an application of one overall colour is added to an object before decoration, it was usually done for the better class of wares.

In 1918 Emma Austin was sixty two years old and a paintress at the Coalport China Factory.  She could vote because of her husband's status and yet painting fine china and ceramics is very skilled work. In 1911 Emma was fifty five and living at 49 High Street, Coalport with her husband Henry a carter at the pottery factory and her daughter Florrie who was an apprentice paintress.  Emma and Henry had eight children four of whom had survived.

Here is a link to more information about the installation and  the thirty seven women who could vote and also about the one hundred and thirty+  who still didn't have the right to a vote. I think I heard mention on the local news that the exhibition is on view until the end of summer.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Into March

The calendar on the kitchen wall tells me it's March but the weather outside seems to think otherwise.  It's not so unusual I suppose, over the years I've known snow in March and April, so I shouldn't be surprised.

I forgot to say 'White Rabbits' on Thursday morning!  As the wind was howling around the house and tossing the trees around I thought that March had certainly come roaring in like the lion so I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will go out like a lamb.

 As I looked out of the upstairs windows on the front and the back it wasn't a day for leaving the house.

  We've been staying indoors, just a couple of walks down into the town for things like milk and a newspaper.  We've also been sitting and watching the visitors to the garden and we've been putting out extra food for them all.

The female fox, one of last year's cubs,

visited during the snow storm.

Chaffinch up to his stomach in snow

Red Wing- a very unusual visitor to the garden, we had a visit from one today.  I wonder if it was the same one?

Squirrel watching his friend

who was tempted by the extra bird food we'd put out for the birds.
A pair of Dunnocks


Mistle Thrush another unusual visitor to the garden we usually just have song thrushes.

On the coldest and windiest day loads of starling settled in the trees nearby.



 All the above photos have been taken through windows at varying times over the last couple of days.  The snow is still with us but is receding in patches around the garden and colour is showing through again.

We have decided to stay indoors today.  I have a basket of ironing to tackle and perhaps a bit of baking.  I have a lovely new magazine to enjoy and two good books.  I've nearly finished reading The Chillbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan and have enjoyed every minute of reading it.  I also have the latest Elly Griffiths Dr Ruth Galloway novel from the library which I will move onto next.

Sometimes it's not so bad staying in after all.  What are you doing this weekend?