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Saturday July 1st 2017 14:00
Matchwomen's Festival 2017 better to strike a light than curse the darkness!

We're incredibly proud of our line–up and exclusive events this year, including Shami Chakrabarti and Diane Abbott, in conversation.

Sat 1 July 2017 14:00 – 23:30 BST

The London Irish Centre
50–52 Camden Square

Tickets are selling fast!

Website link for this event
Friday July 5th 2013 (Time TBA)
I'm organising a festival to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the matchwomen's strike.
This will be in London, and, hopefully, will become an annual event, like the mighty Tolpuddle Festival in Dorset.

I am in talks with trade unions, and several great artists are already involved.
It will be a day the matchwomen themselves would have enjoyed, with music and a bit of a knees up! Matchwomen's descendants will also be there as VIP guests.

Sponsors include Labour History:

Watch this space for more news - and please contact me through this website if you would like to:
- perform
- book a stall
- help
- sponsor or fund

I would also like to hear from community groups and schools who would like to come along
Wednesday July 25th 2012 (Time TBA)
Glad to announce that after some successful meetings the 2013 Matchwomen's Festival is now sponsored by:
Labour History Publications

and supported by SERTUC
Thursday July 12th 2012 13:00
Speaking at the marvellous Tolpuddle Festival for the first time.
See details on website for 'Radical History School'.
And please note that as the next day is my birthday, I may require audience members to sing to me in advance...
Website link for this event
Saturday June 23rd 2012 14:00
I'm speaking at the RMT's 'EAST END WOMEN Walk', which looks like being a fun day out. I love the fact that that they're asking walkers to wear fancy hats in honour of the matchwomen.
Here are the details from Women's Officer Esme:

" The RMT East End Womens walk is running on Saturday 23rd June.

We will be starting from Bow Road station (district line) at 2pm, and exploring the exciting history of radical women in the East End.

The walk will take between 1.5 and 2 hours, stopping at notable East London Suffragettes buildings, the Minnie Lansbury memorial clock and the Bryant and May match factory, scene of the prominent Matchgirls strike of 1888.

After the walk we will be having a picnic in Victoria Park (Crown Gate East entrance) with guest speakers. Please bring something for the picnic (or there are shops along the way)

In celebration of the Match Women, who were well known for their elaborate hats and defensive hat pins, it would be good, if you have one, to bring your fanciest hat!"
Thursday June 14th 2012 20:00
I'm speaking to Croydon Trades Council on the Matchwomen's legacy to today's workers.
Ruskin House
23 Coombe Rd, CRO 1BD.
*BAR FROM 7pm*
Thursday May 31st 2012 (Time TBA)
Striking a Light has just gone into its 4th paperback re-print! Thanks everyone.
I'm also in talks with Bloomsbury about my next book...
Saturday November 26th 2011 11:30
“Is this as good as it gets? The Case for Class Struggle Feminism” - Conference until 17:30
University College London
Gower Street,
Tickets: £10 waged, £5 low-waged/students, £2 unwaged/school students.
Website link for this event
Saturday November 19th 2011 (Time TBA)
Dublin - Irish Labour History Society, details to be advised
Thursday November 17th 2011 18:00
Talk and book signing for the London Women‘s Network
Mander Hall
Hamilton House,
Mabledon Place,
Friday November 11th 2011 (Time TBA)
I’m honoured to be giving the first annual Gilda O’ Neill Memorial Lecture at the Writeidea literary festival. It’s in memory of the much-loved novelist and historian who died suddenly last year.
Whitechapel Ideas Store(or ‘library’, as we used to say when I was a girl)
Tuesday October 11th 2011 19:30
Reading and Book Signing for newly-formed Waltham Forest Radical History Workshop
Orford House Social Club
Orford Rd,
Wednesday September 28th 2011 (Time TBA)
A.L. Morton Memorial Lecture, Bishopsgate

I was delighted to be giving this annual lecture in the beautiful Bishopsgate Library, having seen several from the other side of the lectern.
Saturday September 17th 2011 (Time TBA)
Cradley Heath Chainmaker’s Festival

This has been held at the Black Country Museum for the last few years - until the new Director banned it out for being ‘too political’.
Hmm, yes - an event dedicated to a strike by horribly exploited working women - should be nothing political in that.
And nothing political either in the complaint which kicked it all off - from a prominent local Conservative, as I understand it.
Anyway, local trade unionists had to find an (outdoor) venue at the last minute, but it was, appropriately, back in Cradly Heath,
where the Chainmakers worked.
Hopefully this will build and build in future years. Very enthusiastic crowd though. Naturally I kept my talk politics-free...just kidding!
Thursday September 15th 2011 (Time TBA)
Reading and Book Signing

London Metropolitan University

I thoroughly enjoyed speaking and signing books at my old University, London Metropolitan. Really well attended; great bunch of students, trade unionists and academics.
Thursday July 28th 2011 19:30
Reading and Book Signing
Waterstone’s Bookshop
St Peter’s St,
St Albans,
Monday July 11th 2011 12:00
Green Ribbon Club Fundraising talk for Grove House Hospice, St Albans
Noke Thistle Hotel
St Albans,
E1 7NT
Contact Jean B Hutton: 01727 862245 or Donna Humphreys: 01727 861141 or Click here to email
Saturday July 2nd 2011 13:00
"The Matchwomen’s strike of 1888 and their place in history” (As part of “Brighton History Workshop: Struggle!”) - Until 17:00
Brighthelm Centre,
North Road,
Admission free
Website link for this event
Thursday June 23rd 2011 14:00
“The First East End Girls”
Guildhall Library
Website link for this event
Wednesday May 18th 2011 19:00
“Striking a Light: the real Bryant & May matchwomen”
Sold Out - Thank You
The Women’s Library
London Metropolitan University,
25 Old Castle Street,
E1 7NT
Call 020 7320 2222
Website link for this event
Wednesday March 23rd 2011 19:00
“The London matchwomen’s strike of 1888” Talk and book launch.
Sold Out - Thank You
Housmans Bookshop
5 Caledonian Road,
King's Cross,
N1 9DX
Cost £3, redeemable against any purchase
Call 020 7837 4473
Website link for this event
Thursday March 17th 2011 18:30
“Striking A Light - The Bryant & May matchwomen and their Place in History” Talk and book signing.
Sold Out - Thank You
Bookmarks Bookshop
1 Bloomsbury Street,
Call 020 7637 1848 or email to reserve your place.
Website link for this event
Wednesday March 16th 2011 19:30
“Striking a Light - How the Bryant & May matchwomen changed the world” Second in a series of three talks celebrating International Women’s Month.
Sold Out - Thank You
Museum of St Albans
9A Hatfield Rd,
St Albans,
Cost £6.00 (£5.00 Museum Friends) -includes tea⁄coffee & biscuits.
Book at Museum or call 01727 819340
Saturday March 5th 2011 14:00
“Striking a Light: Celebrating Women in Trade Unions” An event to celebrate the centenary of International Women’s Day.
Sold Out - Thank You
Admission free, light refreshments available.
Working Class Movement Library
51 The Crescent,
M5 4WX
Tel: 0161 7363601
Website link for this event


I was delighted to speak in St Albans in June (2010) to the Green Ribbon Lunch Club, a fund-raising organisation for Grove House Hospice. Grove House is a wonderful local organisation and was of great help to a friend of mine in her last illness. I enjoyed meeting organiser Jean and all the Green Ribbon women and will be speaking again for them next year.

I’m delighted to say, in answer to your questions, that "Striking a Light" will be going into paperback in 2011 as the hardback version is now almost completely sold out. It’s long been my ambition to get the ‘true story’ of the matchwomen to a wider audience so I‘m thrilled about this, and am re-writing at the moment, to make the paperback more accessible to a wider audience. The book will have a foreword by well-known historian Sheila Rowbotham, who also wrote the introduction for the long-awaited new translation of Simone de Beauvoir’s Second Sex - I could hardly be in more illustrious company!

Louise will be talking about the matchwomen at London Guildhall Library on November 24th 2009 at 2pm; there will be a book signing in the book shop afterwards of the last few copies of limited first edition of "Striking a Light". Admission is free but booking is essential. For more details go to London Guildhall Library.

The talk was sold out and had a very interested and informed audience. I’ve been invited to speak again at Guildhall when I’ve finished writing the paperback edition in 2011.

Louise is a contributing author to a ground-breaking new book, ‘Class and gender in British labour history’, to be published by Merlin in 2010. Among other contributors are eminent and influential historians Sheila Rowbotham and the book’s editor Mary Davis