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As part of International Women’s Day 2021, Monday on 8th March, Lisburn Museum has showcased some women’s history highlights on its front porch around spinning, the suffragette and women’s land army movements.

spinster

Spinning

This is an integral part of the making of linen. The word spinster came to define an unmarried woman but its origin is much more intricate. Women tended to spin the linen yarn.  The work was long and hard and paid for by the length, depending on fluctuating market prices.  Home spinners also worked in the home and on the land.  There tended to be a great camaraderie between spinners, reflected in folklore like the Mother Goose poem below.

Cross patch

Draw the latch,

Sit by the fire and spin.

Take a cup

And drink it up,

Then call your neighbours in.

-Mother Goose

mrs metge

The Suffragettes

Lillian Metge (1871-1954)

Mrs Metge (née Grubb) was a wealthy widow who lived with her two daughters on Seymour Street. She was a founding member and secretary of Lisburn Suffrage Society. Increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress in the ‘votes for women’ campaign, in 1914 she resigned from the organisation and joined the militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).

You can read more about Mrs Metge by

CLICKING HERE 

WLA

Women’s Land Army

The Women’s Land Army was first formed in WWI but then disbanded in 1918. It was re-formed in 1939 and disbanded again in 1950. The Women’s Timber Corps was set up in 1942.

Women were called upon to help in agriculture as male workers went to fight in the war, and by the peak year of 1943 some 80,000 were serving.

They worked on farms and estates, milking cows, digging ditches, making hay, sowing seeds and harvesting crops, to help alleviate food shortages.