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9HI Industrial Revolution - Great Britain: Trade Union

Trade Unions

The London matchgirls’ strike of 1888 was a strike of the women and teenage girls working at the Bryant and May Factory in Bow, London. The strike was caused by the poor working conditions in the match factory, including fourteen-hour work days, poor pay, excessive fines, and the severe health complications of working with white phosphorus, such as phossy jaw, but was sparked by the dismissal of one of the workers on or about 2 July 1888.

Match Girls at Bryant & Mays Factory sorting and packing matches.

Manfield's Shoe Factory c1900 

Phossy jaw, formally known as phosphorus necrosis of the jaw, was an occupational disease affecting those who worked with white phosphorus without proper safeguards. It was most commonly seen in workers in the matchstick industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was caused by white phosphorus vapour, which destroys the bones of the jaw.

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Informative YouTubes

An exploration of the origins of the Labour Party, told through the story of Keir Hardie, Britain's first working class MP.

The Matchgirls Strike in the 1800s was the finale in big issue in the making of Matchsticks. Find out the basic story behind it, what happened and how it has changed how things are done since.

It's 125 years since the match girls' strike. Captain Nick Coke chooses his favourite object from The Salvation Army's International Heritage Centre museum; a Salvation Army match box. Nick goes out and about in Bow to trace it's history in The Salvation Army's past.

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