Saturday, March 21, 2020

Visiting the grave of Matchgirl strike leader Sarah Chapman

Today I finally went to find the grave of Matchgirl strike leader, Sarah Chapman, in Manor Park cemetery. The Matchgirls strike of 1888 at the Byrant and May factory in Bow is an important event in trade union history. It was led by women and helped establish trade unionism and the wider Labour movement.

On Thursday I was supposed to have met the great-granddaughter of Sarah and directors of the privately owned cemetery to discuss plans for the future of the grave site. The family are very concerned about proposals for mounding – a process where the existing gravestones are removed, the ground levelled and new earth put on top.

The family and their many supporters want a suitable permanent memorial to Sarah on her grave. Check details and about the wider campaign for a statute for all the Matchgirls.

This meeting was called off due to coronavirus but we are hoping to rearrange with a virtual meeting as soon as possible.

You can visit the grave quite easily (but be careful of trip hazards). It is located in area marked 146 and 147.

When you go into the cemetery from Sebert Road entrance, turn 1st right along Cornwell Crescent which goes into Burge Road.

146/147 is to the right and you can see the area taped off and signs warning they are planning to remove all memorials and headstones in the area.

Check opening times here

UPDATE: Sign the Change petition here  

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