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Showing posts from February, 2022

My Month in Books: February 2022

Latchkey Ladies , Marjorie Grant (Handheld Press 2022, first published 1921) The work women did during the First World War, when many moved into occupations formerly carried out by men, is often viewed as a gateway to liberation. The new skills they learned and the wider variety of jobs available to them gave them the chance to earn more than they could in traditionally female occupations (though still, usually, less than men). Women could now afford to live independently, either on their own or sharing with others. Now, at last, women had stepped out of the cage. Or so the story goes. It’s interesting, then, to find a different perspective in Latchkey Ladies , for the women in this novel do not want these new-found freedoms. They do not want to be single, and they do not want to go out to work. For them entry into the work place does not mean liberation, it means mind-numbing drudgery. The possession of a latchkey to their own rooms does not mean independence, it means loneliness;

Spotlight On...Helen Margaret Nightingale (1883-1921)

I recently re-read Helen Margaret Nightingale’s suffrage play, A Change of Tenant . The play was often performed at meetings and fund raisers by suffrage societies, and was also produced by professional members of the Actresses’ Franchise League. Little seemed to be known about Helen Margaret Nightingale, as Susan Croft notes in Votes for Women and Other Plays (Auroro Metro Press, 2009), which includes the text of the play. However, from the few details Susan Croft provided I was able to discover more about Helen’s life. Helen Margaret Nightingale was born in 1883 in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Her father, Charles Frederick Nightingale (1846-1904) was the minister of the Wesleyan chapel in Marlborough Road (still in use as a Methodist church today). Charles Nightingale, who was born in Manchester, began his career in the church in 1865. He had worked in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Bradford, Sheffield, Leamington, Bolton and Torquay before moving to Banbury in 1881. In 1884 he moved to Wolverham