The Mary Quaile Club

A new historical and political discussion group, the  Mary Quaile Club, will hold its first meeting on 15 February 2014 in Salford.

The  Mary Quaile Club was set up in December 2013. It will hold regular discussions on working class history and  its links  with  contemporary political issues facing working people in Tory Britain.  The Club takes its name from the  Manchester trade unionist, Mary Quaile..

The Club founders say , “We  believe there is  a new generation of political activists campaigning  on issues such as the bedroom tax, the privatisation of the NHS, zero hours contacts, fracking,  the slashing of welfare benefits etc   who would engage with  discussions on history and politics,  but who  are  not being reached at present. We will be holding regular meetings linking history with current political issues.”

The first  public meeting of the Mary Quaile Club will be on Saturday 15 February 2014, 2pm, at  the Cornerstones Community  Centre, 451 Liverpool Street, Langworthy, Salford M6 5QQ.  The theme of the meeting will be “What Ever happened  to the Welfare State?”

The speakers will be Paula Bartley and Hugh Caffrey

Paula  Bartley will discuss the life and politics of Ellen Wilkinson. Paula is the author of Ellen Wilkinson, from Red Suffragist to Government  Minister,  to be published by Pluto Press in February 2014.

Hugh  Caffrey is Secretary  of Greater Manchester Keep our NHS Public.. which campaigns against the privatisation of the NHS. He will discuss what is happening at the moment and what people could do to save the NHS from being taken over by the private sector.

The Club has set up a blog

To join the Club emailing list, please email,<>

Mary Quaile  came to Manchester  with her family from Dublin in the early 1900s. She led a strike of café waitresses and then went on to work as an  organiser for the Manchester and Salford Women’s Trades Union  Council.  Mary  opposed the First World War and was active in the No Conscription Fellowship.  After the war she became an organiser with the newly formed TGWU. Mary  was  elected onto on  the General Council of the TUC  in 1924 and took part in campaigns to increase union membership. She also visited the Soviet Union on a trade union delegation. During the General Strike in May 1926  Mary  spoke at rallies in Manchester and elsewhere

Mary returned to Manchester in the 1930s and was Treasurer of the Manchester Trades Council for many years. Mary died in 1958. Her obituary appeared  in the Manchester Guardian  which said that  “her determination to get trade unionism for women accepted was often met with jeers, boos, rotten apples, and threats of violence. She spoke at hundreds of factory gate meetings in both the East End of London and Manchester; she never betrayed any sign of fear when faced with hostility. Her warmth and lovable personality  won for her many friends in the labour and trade union movement.”

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