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Clementina Black -Trade Unionist, Fabian Society and Women's Suffrage

So pleased to have acquired a letter penned and signed by the amazing Clementina Black, Trade Unionist, Fabian Society member and Women's Suffrage advocate. Although she has no direct Derby or Derbyshire connections she is an extremely important figure in women's history and was for example, an early champion of Equal Pay. In addition, as well as documenting, preserving and recording local Derby and Derbyshire HERstory we are also committed to increasing awareness and the visibility of women's history across the board. This letter was written in 1909 and references going to a suffrage meeting:

Source: Original Letter

The letter reads 'Dears Mrs Anstruther Tomson. 'Alas I have to talk suffrage to a meeting in Christ Church Parish Hall , Paradise Walk tomorrow at 8.30 and am to dine first with an unknown lady in Rossetti Mansions. All evenings next week are so far disengaged and I should dearly like to talk with you. So many interesting things awat (?) nowadays.'


Biography of Clementina Black

Clementina Black, the daughter of David Black, a solicitor and Maria Patten, a successful portrait painter, was born in Brighton on 27th 1854. David Black was Brighton's Town Clerk but when Clementina was a child he became very ill and lost the use of both his legs. Educated at home, mainly by her mother, she became fluent in French and German. In 1875 Clementina's mother died and Clementina, the eldest daughter, was left in charge of an invalid father and seven brothers and sisters. In her spare time Clementina began writing fiction and in 1877, her first novel, A Sussex Idyll was published. After the death of her father she moved to London where she continued her career as a writer. In 1886 Clementina became friends with Eleanor Marx, the daughter of the political philosopher, Karl Marx. As a result of their friendship Clementina became a member of the Women's Trade Union Association (WTUA). In 1886 Clementina Black was appointed honorary secretary of the organisation. For the next few years she travelled the country making speeches trying to persuade women to join trade unions. In 1888 she attended the Trade Union Congress where she moved a motion on equal pay for equal work. Clementina Black was also involved in the formation of the Consumers' League, an organisation that tried to cajole customers to put pressure on employers who paid very low wages to women. One successful campaign involved the boycott of Bryant & May matches. This eventually led to the match-girl strike led by Annie Besant in 1888. In 1889 Clementina Black helped form the Women's Trade Union Association (WTUA). Five years later this organisation joined forces with the Women's Industrial Council. Clementina became president of the council and for the next twenty years she was involved in collecting and publicizing information on women's work. Clementina Black became editor of its journal, the Women's Industrial News, in 1895 and later president of the WIC. She became increasingly act