Barmaids Defence League demo in Northern Quarter

When a proposed ban on female bar staff threatened the livelihood of 100,000 women, Esther & Eva formed the Barmaids Defence League.

In 1908 a young Winston Churchill was standing for re-election as MP in Manchester, arguing that barmaids should face the chop as working in pubs could lead women into unsavoury lifestyles.

In Manchester Esther and Eva organised a fantastically flamboyant barmaid support campaign.

Picture of Stevenson Square demo in The Daily Graphic

Barmaids Defence League, Stevenson Square – The Daily Graphic, April 1908

Gore-Booth’s sister Countess Constance Markievicz drove the couple through the streets of Manchester on a vintage carriage drawn by four white horses. They handed out leaflets, parked up in Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter, and gave speeches from the carriage.

Their protest was a success, Churchill didn’t get re-elected, and the ‘ban the barmaids’ bill didn’t get passed into law.

Article from The Manchester Guardian, Thursday April 23, 1908. P10

Article from The Manchester Guardian, Thursday April 23, 1908. P10

Next: The Roundhouse, Ancoats

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