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Voices from Our Industrial Past: Women

Professor Emma Griffin turns to a rich body of neglected sources, working-class autobiography, to examine the lives of women during the industrial revolution.

Professor Emma Griffin examines the lives of working women during the industrial revolution, through a rich body of neglected sources - working-class autobiography.

It can be difficult to study the lives of women as the historical record often tells us so little about them. But there are a handful of wonderful autobiographies, rediscovered by Emma Griffin, and in this programme she uses them to bring to life the voices of working women during the industrial revolution.

We hear from Ellen Johnston, living in Glasgow during the cotton boom; Betty Shaw from textile producing Lancashire; and Martha Smith, a domestic servant working in London. They feature in autobiographies full of fascinating detail about their lives and struggles. Emma uses these to show how life in the factories led to a transformation in women's opportunities for sexual freedom and expression - a little-known consequence of the industrial revolution.

Readings: Donna Preston, Adiza Shardow and Jack Whitham

Producer: Melissa FitzGerald
A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4.

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28 minutes

Last on

Mon 16 Mar 2015 11:00