Women in white
One of nine images from Red Saunders’ Hidden Peterloo Massacre Tableaux
The early workshops and colleries included women as workers. As the factory system expanded, women became a significant proportion of the workforce in mills and factories. They toiled in mainly low paid and precarious employment. Women experienced both the deprivations of the workplace and the burdens of domestic labour and child rearing.
Many joined the demand for universal suffrage and founded their own organisations, such as the Stockport Female Union Society.
Women often lead the columns that marched from the surrounding towns. Many wore white clothes as a public challenge to malicious accusations about their morality. Some carried greenery as well as the red cap of liberty, the symbol of revolutionary France.
In 1928 all working class women got the vote.
The Peterloo Massacre
On August 16th 1819 tens of thousands of working people – men, women and children – walked from surrounding towns to the centre of Manchester to hear the call for the right to vote.
The local ruling class unleashed the constabulary and mounted Yeomanry on the peaceful crowd. At least 18 people were killed, including children, and around 650 were severely injured.
The Hidden Project shines photographic light on great moments in the long struggle of working people for democracy and social justice. The aim of the project, through reimagining those events, is to reproduce important historic scenes involving the dissenters, revolutionaries, radicals and non-conformists who have so often been hidden from history.
Red Saunders is a professional photographer who combines his photographic practice with cultural, musical and political activism. Images copyright Red Saunders 2019. Further information, reading list and full credit list of supporters and volunteers: www.hiddenpeterloomassacre.com . For further information firstname.lastname@example.org
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