Catalogue description Stephen, Miss Jessie

This record is held by London University: London School of Economics, The Women's Library

Details of 8SUF/B/157
Reference: 8SUF/B/157
Title: Stephen, Miss Jessie

Her father's socialism. Going to a Socialist Sunday School. Her father's generosity to the unfortunate in Glasgow. His taste for reading. Jessie's siblings. How the children were brought up. His dislike of the Glasgow vernacular. Jessie's ambitions, education and early career in domestic service. Jessie's mother and her defence of conscientious objection in her children in First World War. Her skill at housekeeping. How Jessie's parents behaved together. How the firing of letters was organised by the WSPU in Glasgow. How dockers there defended the suffragettes at meetings against hostile interrupters. Attitude to militancy taken up by Jessie's father. Hostility to the suffragettes from Glasgow university students. Anti-suffragism among Glasgow women. Jessie's combative nature. How she formed the Domestic Workers' Union in Glasgow at age 16. Difficulty of unionising domestic servants, who were easier to organise on large premises than on small. Importance for a trade unionist of high standards of work. How her WSPU activism helped her as a union organiser. Humiliations of a servant's life in the early 20th century. Jessie's move to Purley. Her divergence from Mrs Pankhurst's policy on First World War, and involvement with Sylvia Pankhurst's East London Federation. Organising in the provinces for the ELF. Selling Dreadnoughts. Sylvia's unbusinesslike habits. Jessie's Labour candidature at Southsea in 1923, at Kidderminster in 1931 and at Weston-super-Mare in 1964. Working at Bermondsey for Dr Salter, then freelance journalist from 1924. Then began a secretarial agency in Lewes in 1935. The Second World War interrupts this, so she moves to Welwyn Garden City and works for Murphy Radio. Then to Bristol working with the National Union of Clerks. Her local activism in trade union and Labour Party work. Speaking on birth control for the Workers' Birth Control Group, and to her mother. Giving advice on birth control at inter-war ILP open-air meetings. How she originated the mass canvass at Portsmouth. Fighting the Tories at Dartford in 1919 and at Carshalton later for Chuter Ede. Jessie's doubts about trends within the modern Labour Party (not sufficiently to the Left). (Continues on tape 59).

Date: 1 Jul 1977
Held by: London University: London School of Economics, The Women's Library, not available at The National Archives
Former reference in its original department: Tape 58
Language: English

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