One Friday afternoon in February 1912, the women who worked on the French netting machines at Gundry’s net-making factory in the market town of Bridport, Dorset, SW England, were informed (without notice) that their pay was to be reduced to match the wages of the girls and women who worked on the other machines in the factory. The women refused to accept this pay cut and immediately came out on strike. There was no precedent for this, and the women were on their own, there was no union backing, it was regarded as a wildcat strike.
They marched through the town, waving banners saying “We want our rights”, singing Suffragette songs, including the “March of the Women”, which had only been composed some six months earlier by Dame Ethel Smyth as an anthem for the Suffragette cause.
The Bridport Wildcats
The women received support from the whole town – in…