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2022 Year 6 First Prize
The Story of the Match Girls
by Isabelle Hill

Life as a match girl - happiness declines, hard work, little pay and many, many fines.

Match girls toil stretched day after day, living on their little pay.

 

Match girls’ future they seek to review, in the factory they think this through.

Silently they hatch a plan, to ask Bryant and May for injustice to ban.

 

No response, save to erect a statue of their old chum paid for by the girls - now even more glum;

Mr Gladstone, a proud monument, though not to the girls who at its figure rage and abominate.

 

To parliament the match girls go, they state their case, their story’s clear,

The story of the match girl life, it’s one for all to hear.

 

Bryant and May are getting cross, the match girls are winning hearts and minds;

Attitude are changing to their daily grind.

 

Match girls chanting down the street, Match girls up the road,

Match girls speaking to MPs,

Strike, match girls, strike!

 

The MPs decided the law they would change,

An end to silly fines and no more nasty phosphorus,

This meant for other workers a chance to arrange,

Strikes to attempt to also become more prosperous.

 

Nowadays boys and girls be aware, that the future is yours so have a care;

And strike when it’s needed, to ensure that our world for everyone is fair.

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On 5th July 2022, a new English Heritage Blue Plaque was unveiled at Bow Quarter (the old Bryant and May Factory) to commemorate the Matchgirls Strike of 1888.

The Matchgirls Memorial ran a schools poetry competition to celebrate the unveiling. 

Judges were Alice Trickey-Roberts, English Heritage Education Visits Officer, Tanya Landman, Author, Emma Purshouse, Writer and Poet.

Isabelle Hill from St Agnes Catholic Primary School won First prize in the Year 6 category with the poem, 'The Story of the Match Girls'.

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