Friday, 29 April 2016

The Well Hall Pioneer Circle

Lynne has been researching the Well Hall Estate. She has come across an interesting group who met regularly …
In summer 1916 the women of the estate formed a Pioneer Circle, originally for Well Hall but later extended to Eltham as well. The purpose of the circle was to promote and distribute the Woolwich labour newspaper ‘The Pioneer’ but as part of this the women met weekly to discuss items of topical interest. They met in the house of one of their number, Rhoda Baillie, at 34, Prince Rupert Road. Other names that were mentioned in the newspaper include the Mmes Woodnough, Bromley, Webster, Cockham, Skidmore, Pope, Mayes, Scarlett, Jeavons, Banks Ginns, Walker, MacDonald, Stewart and Bell together with a Miss A Stringer. its possible that not all of these women lived on the estate.
And what a range of issues they covered! During the war period they covered topics ranging from food shortages to pioneers of the past and from the need for communal kitchens to Venereal Disease. In December 1917 they made a visit to the Rachel Macmillan Baby Camp in Deptford as part of discussions they had had on education generally and on nursery education specifically. The meeting often began with one woman reading a paper, sometimes by an authority on their chosen subject, followed by a discussion. The newspaper coverage of their meetings in the Pioneer reports their discussions and findings. There were however other activities. In 1917 delegates were sent to the Woolwich Labour Food Conference and they also began making contributions to an inquiry on house planning organised by the South Wales Housing and Development Association in the form of responses to a schedule of some 70 questions. The women not unnaturally felt strongly about the lack of school accommodation for the estate especially as many young children had a walk of twenty or thirty minutes. They passed a resolution about this which was sent to the London County Council Education Committee.

No comments:

Post a Comment