Save Sarah Chapman's Grave.
Sarah was a Leader of the 1888 Matchgirls Strike & Trade Union Heroine
Born: 31st October 1862 – Died: 27th November 1945 – Buried: 3rd December 1945
Sarah Chapman was a leading member of the 1888 Matchgirls Strike Committee, and is pictured above with the newly formed Matchmakers' Union. Sarah (ringed) is standing to the right of Herbert Burrows and Annie Besant, the Socialist Reformers. Sarah went on to become one of the first working-class women to represent their Union at the TUC.
Sadly, despite the great contribution Sarah made to the beginnings of the modern trade union movement and to working women’s rights, Sarah’s final resting place is a ‘pauper’s grave’ in Manor Park Cemetery. The grave, nothing more than a grassy footpath with no marking, let alone a headstone, was rediscovered by her Great Granddaughter in early 2017.
With burial space running out in London, cemeteries are looking at ways to reclaim land and at Manor Park they do this by ‘mounding over’ so that they can re-use the space.
THE AREA ADJACENT TO SARAH WAS MOUNDED IN 2019 AND, DESPITE BEING TOLD BY THE CEMETERY THAT THE AREA WHERE SARAH IS BURIED, WOULD NOT BE MOUNDED FOR AT LEAST 5 TO 10 YEARS, THEY NOW INTEND TO MOUND IMMINENTLY. IF IT HADN'T BEEN FOR THE PANDEMIC, IT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IN 2020.
THE PERMANENT HEADSTONE IS COMPLETE AND WAITING TO BE ERECTED FOR SARAH BUT IT IS NOT POSSIBLE UNTIL THIS ISSUE IS RESOLVED, POTENTIALLY NOT FOR UP TO 5 YEARS IF MOUNDING GOES AHEAD. SARAH'S GREAT GRANDAUGHTER HAS APPEALED TO THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE WHO OFFERED TO CHAIR A MEETING WITH THE CEMETERY BUT THE CEMETERY REFUSED.
With your support we hope to place Sarah's headstone on the site of her grave.