As part of the LGF’s Sugar & Spice women’s weekend, we ran a workshop bigging-up historical lesbian couple Eva Gore Booth & Esther Roper.
We wanted to test the water to see if people would be up for commissioning a permanent memorial to the dynamic duo. The resounding answer was yes, and it was great to hear so many people passionate about these women’s lives.
Beth Knowles & I discussed Esther & Eva’s impact on Manchester: how they taught factory workers in the Roundhouse building in Ancoats; & their flamboyant Barmaid’s Defence League demo in Stevenson Square.
Eva Gore-Booth was an accomplished poet so Hilary Turley led a magnetic poetry session to get everyone chatting and celebrating Esther & Eva’s lives. OK Hilary had printed words out and we used blu-tak not magnetic words – but you get the idea :-).
Each group got their creative juices flowing, and in 15 mins came up with some ace wordy tributes.
One group was inspired by the Roundhouse, and came up with the idea of arranging their poem in a circle – see pic below – genius!
Eva & Esther working together,
campaigning for women
loving together, living together
remember one forever
in Stevenson Square
Eva Gore-Booth, Esther Roper
inspiring women together
The second group penned a fantastic tribute to the work of Esther & Eva:
Esther, Eva & Sappho together
the exquisite lesbians lived
inspiring women with their gift
Remembering barmaids & flower sellers
Shouting out –
“we are equal to all the fellas!”
Education is your right,
March on all you women,
Sisters be active,
Weave your story, and have this fight
Come now look to education
Think of all our sisters who
died in this unjust nation.
Unity is strength & poetry is love
One workshop participant also managed to pen her own personal tribute to Esther & Eva, amazing!:
Esther & Eva.
Under an azure Italian sky,
They smiled, eyes wide,
A connection of the heart and soul,
Unity of thought, about a woman’s role.
Their fiery passion fuelled the fight
For freedom, justice and equal rights,
Eva and Esther a force for good,
told not to love, when they knew they should.
Head of their household, Queen of each other,
Activists, nurturers, suffragette lovers,
Passion and energy transforming the rest,
Esther and Eva simply the best!
By Rosie Adamson-Clark
It was great to catch up with Ursula Harries who runs the Esther & Eva cycle tour around Manchester with Glynis Francis. They’re raising funds to get a plaque installed on Esther & Eva’s old home down Heald Place, Rusholme.
We want to set up an online fundraising campaign to support an Esther & Eva plaque & memorial, & will catch up next month to discuss. There will also be future workshops on Esther & Eva. So watch this space for updates 🙂
You can find out more about Esther & Eva in Sonja Tiernan’s ace book: Eva Gore-Booth, an image of such politics