Inspiration in surprising places

What you may ask, is a photo of potatoes doing at the top of this blog post? Well, it all relates to this letter I’ve just catalogued.  I’m working on a folder called ‘Legacies, memorials and condolences’ which I rightly thought was going to induce a few teary eyes and sad stories.  However it is also filled with incredible, inspirational stories about women, and men, fighting for equality.

One such letter is from the daughter of Mrs Kettlewell, thanking the NUWT for their letter of sympathy on the recent death of her mother.  Miss P. M. Kettlewell goes on to praise her mother and talk about her interest in equal rights.  She tells a story about where her mother first became interested in equal pay.  This is where the potatoes come in so if you’ve read this far thanks for your patience!  The letter is from 1949 and she says that 72 years ago her mother walked off the potato field in Lincolnshire, taking all the other girls with her, when she discovered that the boys were being paid sixpence a day more to do the same work.  The owner relented and granted Mrs Kettlewell’s request that the girls be paid the same rate as the boys.  The daughter then mentions that her mother was a housewife for 61 years after that so she must have been a young girl when she took this stand – what courage, especially if the income was essential to her and her family.

These stories that I’m finding out through cataloguing the letters of condolence are wonderful examples of what makes cataloguing so worthwhile – all the stories behind the individuals in an organisation really brings the NUWT to life. 

 So I’ve gone from dreading cataloguing the next 2 folders of similar material (because it is sad to catalogue news of the deaths of so many individuals) to looking forward to what other inspirational lives lie in store for me to discover!


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