Saturday, 10 March 2012

Women Chainmakers’ Festival returns to Cradley Heath in Sandwell

The festival celebrating an historic strike by women chainmakers’ will return to Sandwell in the summer.
The eighth Women Chainmakers festival will be held in Bearmore Park in Cradley Heath on 9 June.
The venue, Bearmore Mound, is in the heart of the community where the chainmakers’ lived and worked - and fought their successful ten week dispute for a minimum wage for their sector in 1910.
The festival will be jointly organised by the Midlands Region of the TUC and Sandwell Council.

Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Rob Johnston said: “We are delighted to bring the Chainmakers back to Cradley Heath.
“This places our joint celebration of Mary Macarthur, who led the strike, back in the heart of the community where the women fought for their rights to a minimum wage.
“It was a great achievement and we are indebted to Sandwell Council for their support in helping us continue to celebrate this important event.
“We are looking to make this festival an integral part of Cradley Heath for the foreseeable future and look forward to a long and successful partnership with the council to make this happen.”

Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Darren Cooper said: “We are very pleased the TUC is again prepared to organise the festival in conjunction with the council.
“This is an event which celebrates our local history and marks one of the most important events to take place anywhere in the country – and it is here on our patch in Cradley Heath.”
The festival has been moved forward to June to coincide with the unveiling of a statue of a woman chainmaker at Mary Macarthur Park in Cradley Heath, organised by the council and the Friends of Mary Macarthur Gardens Group.
Further information:

The festival celebrates the achievements of 800 or so women Chainmakers who fought to establish a minimum wage for their labour. The local employers sought to deny them their rights but were met with forceful opposition, led by Mary Macarthur, who founded the National Federation of Women Workers and later stood for Parliament as a Labour candidate.

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