The Matchgirls - A musical

Object number

LDVAL 2006.32.19


January 27th, 2002


Programme for the Matchgirls musical presented by Eastbury Secondary School on Wednesday 27th November 2002. The musical ran on three consecutive days, from the 27th to the 29th November 2002. From a collection of items documenting Mrs Godfrey's time as Mayor elect for London Borough of Barking for the year 1974-5. Her daughter, Hilda Bastable was her Mayoress for this term.

Physical description

Booklet contain 20 printed pages within blue card covers. Printed throughout in black. Page 1 - title page; Page 2 - From the Directors, Roy Harvey and Sarah Patterson; Page 3 - ?The Matchgirls?, a synopsis of the story; Page 4&5 - The fight against phossy jaw; Page 6 - 1888 Matchgirls strike; Page 7 - Phossy jaw; Page 8 - Annie Besant; Page 9 - George Bernard Shaw; Page 10 - Contemporary newspaper extracts; Page 11 - Biographies of Bill Owen and Tony Russell; Page 12 - Cast list; Page 13 - Production crew list; Page 14 - Synopsis of scenes, Act 1 and Act 2; Page 15 - Musical numbers in Act1 and Act2; Page 16 - Biography of Director (Mr Roy Harvey) and Co-director (Miss Sarah Patterson); Page 17 - Biographies of Musical director (Mr David Ferne) and Technical Director (Mr Peter Corrigan; Pages18 - 20, and inside back cover - About the cast.




Transcription of page 3: “The Matchgirls” On Tuesday, November 23 1965, the triumphant rebirth of the 1888 strike of the London Matchgirls took place. That evening, at Leatherhead, Gillian Lynne’s production of Bill Owen’s and Tony Russell’s new musical was presented for the first time to a standing ovation. The show later transferred to the Globe Theatre in London, opening in March 1966 for a very successful run. The London Matchgirls’ walk-out was the first time in history that women had ever come out on strike. The Matchgirls’ fearless action in June 1888 was a like a spark to a tinder box. They had been working under appalling conditions, subjected to fines and illegal stoppages from their wages, which in some cases were under five shillings per week. There was also the continuous danger of “phossy jaw”, and infection which sometimes resulted in death. Soon thereafter, the gas workers, the tram workers and finally the dockers went on strike. It seemed as though these men had drawn courage and inspiration from these East End girls, who had decided to take their lives in their own hands. It was during these times that the famous Annie Besant went to see the Matchgirls to get some facts for an article she was writing for the Fabian paper The Link. Mrs Besant was so touched by their plight that she decided to help them. She inspired the girls to take the action which ultimately led to victory and better working conditions. “The Matchgirls” is not a serious show but mixes historical episodes with lively Cockney humour. It is the story of Kate and her mates; Cockney girls, though, courageous, starving at times, but always vibrant. The men in their lives are the dockers and the show revolves around the everyday lives of these people and their fight against poor working conditions.




Whole length: 210mm
width: 147mm

Collection type


Alternative reference

Entry Number 1670/19 (2006-12-15)

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DateJanuary 27th, 2002
InstitutionValence House Museum
Collection typeEphemera