Sarah Dearman, née Chapman – Matchwomen’s 1888 Strike Committee and TUC Representative
Born: 31st October 1862 – Died: 27th November 1945 – Buried: 3rd December 1945
Sarah Chapman was a leading member of the 1888 Strike Committee and later went on to represent the Union at the TUC. Sadly, despite the great contribution Sarah made to the beginnings of the modern trade union movement and to working women’s rights, Sarah ended up in a pauper’s grave at Manor Park Cemetery. The grave, nothing more than a grassy footpath with no marking, let alone a headstone, was rediscovered by her Great Granddaughter in January 2017.
With burial space running out in London, cemeteries are looking at ways to reclaim land and at Manor Park they intend to do this by ‘mounding over’ the area where Sarah is buried so that they can re-use the space. They have offered a plaque elsewhere in the cemetery grounds but Sarah’s descendants feel she deserves to be remembered at the exact location of her grave. The cemetery is resisting this.
With your support we hope to place a permanent memorial to Sarah on the site of her grave. We already have parliamentary support via Lyn Brown MP and Louise Raw (see her Facebook page – Matchwomen Memorial @MatchwomenRemembered).
An online petition is coming shortly, meanwhile please contact
Civil liberties and religious freedoms: from the Levellers to today
The meeting will be hosted by communications union CWU at its training centre in Alvescot and will start at 8pm. Attendance is free, but is limited to around 60 people so registration will be necessary – please register at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a few rooms available for Bed & Breakfast on Friday 13 May at the Alvescot training centre at £38 per person. Book at email@example.com
Welcome Trish Lavelle
Speaker Revd Professor Mark Chapman
Speaker Dr Ariel Hessayon
Chair Megan Dobney
A campaign meeting took place on 30/01/2016 at the Stratford Campus of UEL to discuss the threat to local services under government funding plans. The meeting was a joint venture supported by the main unions in Newham. Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, West Ham MP Lyn Brown and Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the NUT were amongst speakers who addressed the meeting.
*Convoy to Calais 23rd January 2016* On January 23rd another group from Newham crossed to Calais to deliver support to the refugees in The Jungle, this time including members of Newham Labour Party & Newham Pakistani Forum, Dost Young People’s Refugee Project (East Ham) and Newham Stand Up To Racism. As before we visited the Care4Calais warehouse from which aid goes into the camp and then went on to The Jungle itself where we helped with a food distribution. We also attended a demonstration by the refugees and French supporters. Some of us attended the press conference in the camp given by Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot, who visited Calais and Dunkirk camps on Saturday. A large strip of The Jungle has been bulldozed flat, destroying all the tents and huts which were next to the motorway. The French authorities have provided shipping containers with bunks, though no cooking facilities, toilets or communal areas. Some refugees have moved into these. There is going to be space for 1500, which is about a quarter of those currently on site. Many more either can’t because there’s no space or won’t because it means much tighter control and the possibility of deportation. Workers were collecting rubbish in the camp – the result of a court ruling won by Doctors Without Borders which obliges the authorities to do this. The other big change seems to be a rise in the violence against the refugees. They talked about tear gas being fired regularly into the camp and incursions by the police and racists who attack them. Certainly the police presence was much higher: the motorway exit to the camp was sealed off and there were convoys of CRS riot squads moving around it. This time we took 930 euros to Care4Calais. The NUT rep at Woodbridge High School in Redbridge had produced a badge with the support of Redbridge NUT. This has the image of Paddington Bear, from a Bansky mural in the camp, with the slogan “Everyone Needs a Refuge”. Students and staff had raised 520 euros selling these. (Bulk orders are available!). A housing worker had collected £87 round her office and individual donations via SUTR came to 300 euros. See her post at www.facebook.com/lois.browne1/posts/10153402868742029 In terms of material, we took mostly winter clothes and blankets. Particular mention for these goes to Dost, the Wapping GP practice in Tower Hamlets and Elmhurst Primary School in Upton Park, as well as several families. We have some extra things, less suitable for Calais, which will be donated to the Renewal Programme’s Refugees and Migrants Project in Manor Park, which works with refugees here who have no access to state support. Thank you to all who came to Calais and to all who donated. Newham convoys have now taken over 6000 euros in cash plus ten car loads and a transit van of material donations. 48 people have visited the camp with us to do this. *The next convoy is in the February Half Term, from Saturday 13th onwards.* Please let me know if you’d like to come, or to donate money or goods. Drivers are especially welcome.