Blaszak, Barbara
August 2002
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Aug2002, Vol. 67 Issue 2, p130
Academic Journal
This article explores the interplay of class and gender in the life of little known working-class activist, Martha Jane Bury. Bury began working in the cotton mills in the Blackburn-Darwen area as a half-timer at the age of eleven. By the time she married in 1882, her class identity had been so profoundly shaped by her experiences that her husband's promotions, which eventually raised their family to middle-class status, did not change it. Her continued identification with workingclass women inspired her activities on their behalf within her Confrontational chapel and in the Women's Co-operative Guild. She served three terms as the national president of the Guild and confronted its general secretary, Margaret Llewelyn Davies, over such issues as women's suffrage and divorce law reform. Bury thought that Llewelyn Davies' support for adult suffrage and divorce by mutual consent did not serve the best internists of the married working-class women in the Guild. Her work as a Guildswoman shows that Bury continued to identify as a working-class woman even when, arguably, her objective class position was no longer working class.


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