Miss P. Wilson (b.1918-) Politics and Protest – Writing Lives

Miss P. Wilson (b.1918-) Politics and Protest

Although on the surface, it does not seem like Miss Wilson was politically driven. There are things she mentions that convey a very keen sense of ethical maturity. This began to emerge in Miss Wilsons character from a young age. In primary school, when it became apparent to her that many of the other children wouldn’t have the luxuries of fruits like oranges that she had daily, she would steal them and hand them out to her class as she didn’t want to be seen as different.

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May Queen Parade, Manchester, 1956

This was a brief memory but it became to catalyst for Miss Wilson to begin to see the disparity of outcome in the community she grew up in. Once her father died and she was sent away to Cheadle Hulme Boarding School, the children’s whose parents paid for them to be there judges Miss Wilson for her social background. This was a complete role reversal for her, before she was considered privileged for a working class child, but once she began attendance at Cheadle Hulme, she was at the receiving end of the disparity between the classes. In this vein, it seems clear that Miss Wilson began to form her own politics form an especially young age.

Miss Wilson did not overtly get into any political views she held. Therefore I find it of vital importance that whatever can be inferred is analysed. One of the moments where Miss Wilson’s political voice slips out is when talking about her grandfathers life at the mill on Rodney Street. He developed a violent case of bronchitis and asthma and could not work as overlooker in the mill any longer. She notes that she didn’t realise how ill he was until be tried to maintain work at lammingway workhouse, it was soon after that he passed away at the age of forty-nine.

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Manchester, Ordsall Road, 1905

Politics was not as inclusive as it is today and therefore it wasn’t common to have many women realising their passion for it. It was not until around Miss Wilsons Birth when the suffragette movement increased in scale that politics began to become a mainstream topic for women. I a way I believe that this suppression of peoples beliefs is method that was used to keep control over working class women. Without a say in how their society was run and trapped in a community where manual labour jobs were perpetuated, it was difficult for women like Miss Wilson to escape the cycle.

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A. Davies suggests in his journal “leisure, gender and poverty: working-class culture in Salford and Manchester, 1900-1939” (pg.5) that because these jobs were so prevalent in lower economic groups, it only stood to perpetuate the poverty onto later generations. Miss Wilson although working as a shop assistant for most of her life, was happy with her standing and would rather focus her time on things that mattered, like her hobbies, her faith and her family.

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A. Davies, leisure, gender and poverty: working-class culture in Salford and Manchester, 1900-1939

S. Pedersen, The appearance of women’s politics in the correspondence pages of Aberdeen newspapers 1900-1914

Lucy Delap, Feminism and the Periodicals Press 1900-1918

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