A Valentine for a Cause

Since it’s February 14th, also known as Valentine’s Day, also known as one of the most contested of ‘Hallmark holidays’, it’s an opportune time to share some Valentines from the NUWT archive collection.

In 1949, NUWT members took the opportunity to add an activist twist to Valentine’s Day, when they arranged for every MP to receive at least one Valentine, reminding them of the pressing issue of ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’…

Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

NUWT Valentine to MPs, Cover.  Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

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NUWT Valentine to MPS, Inside.  Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

The Valentine campaign caught the attention of both MPs and the press…

Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

Card from MP Harry Legge-Bourke in repsonse to Valentines sent on behalf of the NUWT. Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

Inside of card from Legge-Bourke, quoting T.S. Eliot.  Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

Response from MP Sir William Darling.  Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

Here, a clipping from the Tuesday, Feb. 15, 1949 issue of the Daily Telegraph & Morning Post reports on the NUWT’s intentions for the Valentines.

Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

Document Reference: UWT/D/1/18

The text reads:

Every MP received at least one Valentine yesterday. The National Union of Women Teachers took a novel opportunity to inform the Commons that they do not think the “Equal Pay for Equal Work” campaign is progressing as it should.

Miss A.M. Pierotti, the union’s secretary, tells me that the card is meant to remind MPs that women are still waiting for action on a principle already accepted by the Government.

“It is really time,” she said, “that the Government implemented the words of Magna Carta: ‘To no one will we refuse or delay right or justice.’”

This quotation appears inside the card.  On the front… the moral is rubbed in by two others.  The first is Wordsworth’s:

“High heaven rejects the lore
Of nicely caclualted less or more.”
Then follows the couplet:
“Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.”

These words were written by the 17th-century poet James Shirley.  How he would have regarded their present application is another matter.

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