Parliament, Stars and ‘Suffragette’

One of my favourite things about the NUWT collection is the range of causes members were involved in throughout the first half of the twentieth century.  Obviously the issue of equal pay for women teachers was the driving force of their campaigning, but that didn’t stop them from becoming involved in a range of causes – including the interwar peace movement; the education of girls; the impact of cinema on children; the nationality of married women issue; and women’s suffrage.

If you’re interested in any of the issues that pop up in our NUWT archive or this blog, you’ll probably also be keen to see the new film, currently titled ‘Suffragette’, currently shooting in London.  While filming has primarily been taking place in East London, the film is also set to shoot in the Houses of Parliament at Westminster.  The fact that this is the first commercial film to be given filming prvileges in Parliament says a great deal about the value of sharing this very significant period in history (I cannot even imagine the bad press for Westminster if they had said no to filming scenes for ‘Suffragette’).  The film stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep as suffragette leader, Emmeline Pankhurst (see photos of Streep in costume as Pankhurst here).

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NUWT members laying a wreath at the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst outside the Houses of Parliament c1932.  Doc Ref: UWT/G/2/39

While we don’t necessarily need a star studded film to appreciate the women’s suffrage movement, it is nice to see it being recognised. Also, in the often male dominated film industry, it is pretty great to see such a talented female cast under the direction of Sarah Gavron.

*Also, a huge thanks to our volunteer, Jeremy, for making documents – like the photograph seen above – more accessible.  As part of our HLF project, Jeremy, who has been with us since January, spends Monday afternoons on an NUWT digitisation project.  He scans and organises the NUWT archive collection’s photographs (such as the one above) so that they are preserved and accessible for archive readers, regardless of geographical proximity to the IOE.  Thanks again, Jeremy!*

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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.

A Belated Happy Halloween: Treats from the Archive

As a North American, Halloween is a pretty big deal; as such, I was pretty enthused when the archivists mentioned there were Halloween-related materials in one of our collections (Thanks, Becky and Jessica, for these.  And also for tolerating excessive Halloween chatter).

Halloween may have been yesterday, but it’s never too late for a cup of Witches Froth (… right?)

The following documents come from our archive collection of the British Families Education Service / School Children’s Education (BFES/SCE) Association.  The BFES/SCE provided education for the children of British Forces personnel initially in Germany, but later worldwide. The collection contains papers from countries all over the world including Germany, Belize and Hong Kong; for more information, check out our BFES/SCE LibGuide.

If you’re in the market for treats for your Halloween party, here is a very poetic calendar with some spooky, seasonal recipes on the back…

(Document Reference BFE/B/3/16)

(Document Reference BFE/B/3/16)

(Document Reference BFE/B/3/16)

(Document Reference BFE/B/3/16)

Archive-Inspired Teaching Idea: Make a Calendar with your Students!

These would be a perfect gift for students to give to their family as a holiday gift, in preparation for the New Year.  You’d likely have to start the process a few weeks in advance, but there are plenty of cross-curricular opportunities…

  • Literacy: Students could write poems inspired by each month.
  • Art: Create a different piece of art to correspond with each poem and month (thumbprint snowmen in January; crepe paper flowers in May; etc).
  • PSHE: Healthy seasonal recipes!  I suppose the ‘healthy’ bit could be optional.

‘I know this stuff is old because it’s mostly all grey…’ – Archives & Year 2s

This past week was our first foray into working with Key Stage 1; our ‘Clever Campaigners’ workshop was delivered over two days to a Year 2 class in Camden.

The pupils have been busy learning about the civil rights movement as a part of Black History Month, so we linked the NUWT’s campaign for equal pay to extend their study of campaigning and equal rights.  We explored different campaigns (from civil rights to McDonald’s to Anti-Smoking to Recycling) as the students debated what the goal of each campaign was.

Armed with their white gloves, and with great care, the Year 2s read through the NUWT's 'The Woman Teacher' publications.

Armed with their white gloves, and with great care, the Year 2s read through the NUWT’s ‘The Woman Teacher’ publications.

After they had time to explore the visual, verbal and written campaign strategies of the NUWT, the students then got busy creating their own campaign.  Following a class vote, they decided to create an environmental campaign.  The students designed ephemera encouraging others to take care of their planet by recycling, walking instead of driving in a car, and to stop smoking.  With their carefully designed badges and posters, they then went on an enthused environmental march around the school.

I spy future campaign designers, no doubt.

I spy future campaign designers, no doubt.

The students’ care, attention to detail and genuine curiosity of the archives reinforced the valuable role primary sources can play in early years learning.  Upon investigating a newspaper clipping of Mrs. Bale (former NUWT president) speaking at an equal pay demonstration in Trafalgar Square, a pupil came up to me, document in hand; he pointed to the photo’s caption, and patiently explained:

‘this newspaper article says Mrs. Bale talked yesterday… but I know they mean yesterday a long time ago because on the back it says it came from 1940…

Plus, they are all wearing silly hats!’

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Mrs. Bale and some impressive hats.  Another pupil immediately spotted the lion and wisely pointed out that she was in Trafalgar Square, and… ‘with all that space for people, what a good place for a big meeting!’ (document reference: UWT/D/38/1)

Thanks to Ms. Albrecht and her lovely class of Year 2s (otherwise known as the Polar Bears) for having us visit!

If you are interested in archive workshops for your group (from Key Stages 1-4, adult education, informal learning, etc), email alexandra.hall@ioe.ac.uk for more information / to make a booking. 

Archive Workshops Now Available!

Autumn 2013 Schools Programme

Following a summer of creating learning resources and workshop design, we are excited to offer four Key Stage 1-4 school sessions that are now available for booking.

The HLF project, New Perspectives, welcomes new audiences to explore social history through the archives, specifically using the collection of the National Union of Women Teachers.  Each workshop takes a hands-on approach and includes active citizenship; historical investigations; and visual, oral, and written activities to deliver engaging sessions linked to the National Curriculum.  Workshops and activities are offered for:
Schools and college groups; students at PRUs; youth groups; visits from home educated children.

And the four workshops on offer…

Clever Campaigners: Then & Now KS 1/2 Half Day or Full Day Workshop Using the IOE’s NUWT archive collection, students investigate the strategies and tactics of a historical campaign and get inspired to create their own.  As students explore how campaigning has changed over the past century, they begin their own 21st century campaign, deciding what they would most like to change about the world. (document reference UWT/G/2/60)

Clever Campaigners: Then & Now
KS 1/2 Half Day or Full Day Workshop
Using the IOE’s NUWT archive collection, students investigate the strategies and tactics of a historical campaign and get inspired to create their own. As students explore how campaigning has changed over the past century, they begin their own 21st century campaign, deciding what they would most like to change about the world.
(document reference UWT/G/2/60)

Campaign! Make an Impact KS 3/4 Half Day or Full Day Workshop Explore a historical campaign as inspiration to create your own!  Using the British Library’s Campaign! Make an Impact model, this workshop engages students with original documents in the NUWT archive.  Students investigate topics including facets of the NUWT equal pay campaign, social justice, and campaign tactics, while considering how these factors have changed over the past century. (document reference UWT/G/2/31)

Campaign! Make an Impact
KS 3/4 Half Day or Full Day Workshop
Explore a historical campaign as inspiration to create your own! Using the British Library’s Campaign! Make an Impact model, this workshop engages students with original documents in the NUWT archive. Students investigate topics including facets of the NUWT equal pay campaign, social justice, and campaign tactics, while considering how these factors have changed over the past century.
(document reference UWT/G/2/31)

Archive Explorers KS 1/2 Half Day Workshop In this interactive workshop, students take on the role of evidence-hunting historians as they explore the archive and develop their skills of historical enquiry and communication.  This workshop is a fun and engaging way to introduce students to primary sources and the role they play in learning about history. (document reference UWT/D/50/2)

Archive Explorers
KS 1/2 Half Day Workshop
In this interactive workshop, students take on the role of evidence-hunting historians as they explore the archive and develop their skills of historical enquiry and communication. This workshop is a fun and engaging way to introduce students to primary sources and the role they play in learning about history.
(document reference UWT/D/50/2)

History Makers KS 3/4 Half Day Workshop Taking a hands-on approach with our archive collection, students explore the difference between a primary and secondary source.  After investigating original documents in the archive, students become history makers and create their own secondary sources.  This session supports pupils’ understanding of how historians use different types of sources to gather evidence about the past. (document reference UWT/D/37/11)

History Makers
KS 3/4 Half Day Workshop
Taking a hands-on approach with our archive collection, students explore the difference between a primary and secondary source. After investigating original documents in the archive, students become history makers and create their own secondary sources. This session supports pupils’ understanding of how historians use different types of sources to gather evidence about the past.
(document reference UWT/D/37/11)

We will help you plan your session in a way which meets your group’s needs.  To discuss your ideas or to book a visit, please get in touch:
email: arch.enquiries@ioe.ac.uk
phone: 020 7911 5483

And it’s probably worth noting that, thanks to our grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, all school sessions are offered completely free of charge.

Dating photographs

… or not dating them as the case may be! Recently I’ve been trying to identify the individual members of the NUWT in the photographs in the Collection.

Identifying the women has been a lot tougher than I’d originally thought it would be so I’m hoping some of my you might be able to help!  Many of the group photographs contain large numbers of women, often wearing hats which partially obscure their face, and some of these photographs are a bit faded with age. Ah the age – there’s another problem, many of these photos are not dated!  As these are often more casual shots the women are not always looking directly at the camera, making it more difficult to identify.  For some women, generally members of the Central Council, we have official portraits.  However even these are problematic as they do not always give the name of the individual or the date.

So here’s two photographs/one individual I’ve been puzzling over – let’s see what you think.

UWT_G_1_13 Miss Cutten web

Photo 1 ©Institute of Education Archive

UWT_G_2_33 miss Cutten and unidentified woman

Photo 2 ©Institute of Education Archive

  • Is the women in photo 1 the same as the women on the left in photo 2?
  • What date would you give these photos?

Unlike most of the collection the photograph section was already on the catalogue system when I started this project.  Some are catalogued individually, others in groups.  Photo 1 is dated 1918/1919 on the catalogue but has no date on the photo and photo 2 is dated 1920s on the catalogue entry, again with no date on the photo itself.  On the back of photo 1 it says Miss [Cutten] – I’m pretty sure it’s Cutten but the writing is quite hard to make out.  I’m sure the women on the left in photo 2 is the same as photo 1 but the problem here is that if photo 1 is Miss Lizzie Cutten she died in 1920.  So either the name is wrong, one or both of the dates are wrong, or I have two different women. [Are you confused yet? I’m confusing myself here with trying to work this out so please bear with me!] Lizzie Cutten was born in 1888 so it could be that photo 1 was taken  much earlier than 1918 but I don’t know enough about historic fashion and hairstyles to even take an educated guess. Can anyone help me out here with dating these based on the fashion and hair styles?

And I’ve not even started trying to figure out who the women on the right is in photo 2!

Some other awesome archives

One of my favourite archive blogs for surprises is Awesome Archives. Here’s the blog synopsis –

A celebration of archives, archival material, and the amazing history that they protect.

I’d highly recommend adding it to your blog feed.  Guaranteed every time I check this blog there’s something new to catch my interest.  Today it was a colourful map from Beringer Bros Winery in California, which led me to the original blog ‘Quick Kills’.  The aim of the ‘Quick Kills’ project at Bancroft Library, California is to increase access to ‘legacy’ collections by speedy processing of about 160 priority collections.  The blog provides short insights into collections, usually one or two images with a nice, concise description.

While browsing their posts I noticed some familiar looking documents – suffrage material including a Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) poster for a demonstration in Hyde Park.  The material is from the McLean family papers, a family from California. This includes the papers of a daughter Fannie McLean, a suffragist and teacher.  The papers shown here even include a leaflet she wrote ‘Why the Teacher should be a Suffragist’ – sounds like she would have been a kindred spirit to NUWT members!

Image re-blogged from ‘Quick Kills’ at Bancroft Library tumblr

There is a finding aid to the collection, which can be accessed via the Online Archive of California.