The match girls

This may have even been drawn for the factory owner to give as a gift to the company directors. Either way the drawing itself of this magnificent factory supports Bryant and May’s statement in Source H. Source D is a photograph taken of some of the Match Girls on strike. This picture contrasts with Source H’s statement about the Match Girls being well treated. The girls in this picture are very melancholy looking, the girls here are very badly dressed, wearing dirty ripped clothing and they are aged from about 12-16.

The picture is taken from the outside of the building, therefore I can not comment on the interior state of the factory. The photograph having being taken on the outside of the building straight away gives the picture a cold, solemn look. You can see the girls have had times hard because their faces are screwed up and one girl seems to have ‘phossy-jaw’ as her jaw line is rather disfigured. This source, being a photograph, makes its reliability more valid than Source C’s, although I am aware of the fact that photographs too can be manipulated to give off the desired impression.

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Source E, again is an article written for a middle class audience and middle class newspaper called The Echo. It clearly believes Bryant and May’s statement in Source H to be true because it states that some of the Match Girls’ supporters are members of parliament whom ‘champion the poor and oppressed. ‘ They also ask how they ‘can they face the public when their employees in the East End of London exist on next to starvation wages? ‘ This implies that the employees of Bryant and May at the Fairfeild workers are paid better wages than M.

P’s pay their staff. In conclusion, from studying the five Sources, A-E that there are more sources to support Bryant and May’s statement, three supports it- two oppose the statement, so statistically they are right. This does not mean, however, that the statement given in Source H, a public statement by Bryant and May, is true, it only means that with my limited amount of sources I was able to use this is my outcome. If I was enabled to utilise an unlimited number of sources I may have reached a different conclusion.

So personally I would say it is not really possible to reach a reliable conclusion, as the evidence given is contradictory and questionable due to its dependability. Question 6: Many school history books about the development of trade unions at the end of the nineteenth century do not mention the Match Girls’ strike. Does this mean that the Match Girls’ strike was not an important event in the history of trade unions? Explain your answer using these sources and your own knowledge.

The fact that the strike held by the Match Girls in 1888 may not have been mentioned in many history books could be due to several reasons. It in no way means that the strike was not an important event in history. The fact that if you compare this strike to others it to other strikes such as the Jarrow March and the London Dockers strike it was of a rather small scale, may be one of the main reasons as to why this strike is left out in history. But the winning of the strike was a great victory and triumph to the Match Girls although it never really affected anybody else in a big way.

Up until recently male domination was a way of life in all countries around the world. The fact that this was a victory for women may have hindered its entry in to many history books and in history text books in the past women have been ignored and disregarded. The Match Girls achieved things that was not considered possible for women or unskilled workers at that time, you could say they opened the door for women’s rights and working class people. They proved that women could do things alone without having to be over-looked my men.

Also the previous strikes held by the N. A. L. U, National Agricultural Labourers Union had failed and so the girls knew by using their examples what to avoid, and how to do things right, to enable them to win. The Match Girls Strike was a great success as this was the first victorious strike for unskilled workers. The organisation and support of the Match Girls’ strike was clearly one of the middle classes’ biggest oppositions of that time, as they refer to the staff having being ‘influenced’, and it was ‘a pity’ the workers were ‘egged on’ by ‘sympathisers’

The publicity, organisation and support form local businesses and middle class people was a big factor as to why the strike was successful. Money that the girls received, helped fund their demonstrations and gave them strike pay also upheld the length of the strike. The girls changed their own lives and the way in which working class employees were treated. Not only by this strike having been constructed by women it had been victorious in its attempts to improve working conditions. This showed that everybody has the potential to be able to revolt, strike and win, whether they were male or female.

They were an inspiration to the other workers of that times, and were to many other strikes and demonstrations that were held throughout Britain and particularly to other women. This strike may have encouraged the London Dockers and Gas workers to rebel, stand up for their rights and to strike; who in 1889 had both organised strikes and succeeded. Although this strike was left out of history textbooks, I feel that it was a very significant time in history as it caused a chain reaction when other middle class workers also started to revolt and strike. Conni Donaldson, History G. C. S. E Coursework.