Women of Bridport Unite! May 13th

Bridport Museum declares “Women of Bridport Unite!” at the Ropewalk Fair on Sunday 13th May. The museum is soon to celebrate, with a special exhibition, the proud story of women working in the local netting Industries. So, this year’s Ropewalk Fair will feature the 1912 Bridport Wildcats women’s singing group who tell the story of the hard-working women networkers who held a strike at Gundry’s factory with the protest being documented by local photographer Clarence Austin.

Cartoon Action Theatre are staging a play about the event written by Lucy Goodison and directed by Margie Barbour with the Bridport Wildcats ensemble in 1912 costumes providing rousing choruses throughout.

The strike was supported by many of the local people and a collection to support the strikers raised nearly £10 (£650 in today’s money) The workers refused arbitration from the local MP and kept up their strike for a week. It was a wildcat strike, in that they had no union backing – in fact they had no union, this was rectified during the course of the strike.

The play will be performed in the open air at 2pm on Sunday 13 May on the Millennium Green, next to the Mountfield Council officers.

A member of the1912 Bridport Wildcats group said  “In this year of the Centenary of some British women getting the vote it is very fitting that our songs at the Ropework Fair will include the Suffragette Anthem “Shoulder to Shoulder ” which the Bridport News reported the women strikers sang as they marched around the streets with a banner declaring “We want our Rights”.

Singing rehearsals will be at 6.15 pm Wed 25 April and 9 May in the Yellow Room Chapel in the Garden East Street, led by Jane Silver Corren.

We hope as many ladies as possible will join us.  So, if you fancy being a 1912 netmaker or a suffragette for the afternoon please come along to a rehearsal or contact Louise on email lharkin01@gmail.com for more information.