Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Women Chainmakers’ festival to return to Bearmore Park in Cradley Heath

The Festival celebrating an historic strike by Women Chainmakers will return to Cradley Heath this weekend.
The ninth Women Chainmakers festival will be held in Bearmore Park in Cradley Heath on 8th June, preceded by a new addition to the festival –“Friday night at the Chainmakers”.
The venue for both events, Bearmore Mound, is in the heart of the Cradley Heath community where the Chainmakers worked and lived - and fought their successful ten week dispute to secure a minimum wage for their sector.
The festival has been jointly organised by the Midlands Region of the TUC and Sandwell council and will feature the TUC President, Lesley Mercer, speaking at the events.
Midlands TUC festival organiser Alan Weaver said, “We are delighted to bring the Chainmakers back to Cradley Heath for the third year running.”
“This places our joint celebration of Mary Macarthur, who led the strike in 1910, 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.”
The festival will also include a commemoration at Mary Macarthur Gardens here the monument dedicated to the Chainmakers is situated. This will start at 11.00 a.m. to be followed by a banner parade along Cradley Heath high Street to Bearmore Park, along part of the very route used by Macarthur and the women Chainmakers.

Notes to Editors:

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.

Friday night at the Chainmakers takes place on Bearmore Mound from 7.00 p.m. to 11.00 p.m. on Friday 7th June.
Performers on Friday Night include Sandwell Rock School and Stacey Blythe singing the Chainmakers Song.

The ninth Women Chainmakers festival takes place at Bearmore Mound on Saturday 9th June from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and will feature TUC President, Lesley Mercer, Gloria Mills, UNISON Head of Equalities, and local black country performers including The Laners, Phil Parton, Easy Street, Tom Martin Band, Steve Morris, Bill O’Brien, East West Fusion, Brett Huckerfield and Marie Timmins, Folk Law, Carol Widenbar, Tony Scott and Billy and Lozz.

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