In April last year, the Mary Quaile Club launched a unique web archive on the birth of women and trade unions, featuring transcriptions of two handwritten volumes of minutes of the Manchester and Salford Women's Trades Union Council (MSWTUC) between 1895 and 1919.
The minutes came to light during research for a pamphlet, Dare To Be Free, by the Club into the life of Mary Quaile, who worked for the MSWTUC as an organiser between 1911 and 1919 battling to get women into trade unions in the fight against low wages.
Mary's great-nephew, Martin Ennis, presented the minutes to the Mary Quaile Club, and they included some horrendous practices by bosses at the time...
"A new branch of the Union had been formed at Gerard's, Swinton, and an interview was pending with the firm to point out the illegality of deducting the 2/6 advance granted to Munition Workers, as a fine for any time lost..." stated one of the minutes, transcribed in their entirety by Mary Quaile Club's Bernadette Hyland and featured on the website www.mswtuc.co.uk .
Now, at a special event on Saturday 10th March, the original handwritten documents are to be handed over to the Working Class Movement Library. There will also be speeches about the importance of the MSWTUC and its definite relevance to the now.
"The Working Class Movement Library is delighted to receive the records of this ground-breaking organisation run by remarkable women for women; its work, achievements and setbacks" says Maggie Cohen, Chair of the Library's Trustees "It adds to the Library's unique collection of working class struggles."
Maggie will be speaking at the event, alongside Bernadette Hyland, from the Mary Quaile Club, and Lauren McCourt from the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union. Actor Joan McGee will also perform a short extract from a play about Mary Quaile written by Jane McNulty.
'Any Help Possible Will be Given': The work of the Manchester and Salford Women's Trade Union Council 1895-1919
Saturday 10th March 2pm to 5pm
Working Class Movement Library
51 Crescent M5 4WX.
The event is free but advance booking is advised: email firstname.lastname@example.org
The event is part of Wonder Women 2018, a special edition of Manchester's annual radical feminist festival, marking one hundred years since some women first won the right to vote in Britain. Explore the full programme running throughout March at www.creativetourist.com/wonderwomen
See also previous Salford Star article on the launch of the MSWTUC archive website - click here