The Hard Way (2019)


  • Castles
  • Hannah’s Drudgery
  • Photograph
  • Dinner on the Table
  • Hannah’s Speech
  • Clothing, Food and Shelter
  • Leave Our Mark
  • Sands of Time
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The Hard Way tells the story of working class suffragette Hannah Mitchell through eight original songs written whilst researching Hannah’s story and writing a stage production, created as a solo performance piece in 2018. I discovered Hannah’s story whilst commemorating the centenary of the first women in the UK to be granted the vote for Parliament. Whilst discussing this significant anniversary I realised that even within academic circles far less is known of working class women who took part in protests and campaign work.

Hannah Mitchell’s name came up in a couple of conversations and I found that her autobiography, although out of print, can be tracked down! I visited a number of archives in and around Manchester and was able to piece more information together about Hannah’s story and her extraordinary achievements. Growing up in rural obscurity on a remote hilltop in the Derbyshire Peak District, Hannah had two weeks of schooling and ran away from home aged fourteen, working in sweated labour around Lancashire and Yorkshire before marrying and taking up a life of domestic drudgery once more.
Self-taught and determined Hannah learned to read and write, became a public speaker, campaigner against the Poor Law, a member of the W.S.P.U., a local councillor and finally a city magistrate for twenty-one years; a true representative of working class women.

There is an accompanying booklet telling Hannah’s story through anecdotes from Hannah’s autobiography and archive materials.

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