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  • Writer's pictureJanet Few

Forgotten Women Friday 3

The team from A Few Forgotten Women are delighted to announce our third A Few Forgotten Women Friday, which will take place on 11 August. Our previous events have seen over 100 volunteers researching stories of girls from the Leeds Industrial and Ragged Schools and the women incarcerated in homes for inebriates, namely St. Joseph’s Inebriate Reformatory, Ashford, Middlesex and Farmfield Reformatory for Inebriate Women, Horley, Surrey. As a result, some 150 previously unrecorded life courses have been uncovered and published on our website, with more to come.

Would you like to join us in August? You can find out more about how these days work here, where you will also find links to read the narratives produced following our first two A Few Forgotten Women Fridays. The chosen institution for 11 August is the Cheshire County Training College, Crewe [CCTCC]. We will be looking at the 75 young women who were enrolled in the first two cohorts of trainee teachers when the college first opened in 1908. We have access to the student registers via one of our team, who was instrumental in saving these records when the college campus was closed in 2019. These records are currently awaiting transcription by the Family History Society of Cheshire, so this is an exciting opportunity to work on a data set that is not yet in the public domain.

The history of the CCTCC and the achievements of its students over the years is a story that weaves together those small, discrete individual life threads as they are embroidered into the historical tapestry of teacher training in the UK, which in Cheshire formally began in 1908. This was a pivotal time for young people in this country and especially for women who were struggling for parity in both terms of suffrage and educational opportunities.

In order to put the CCTCC into the context of the day, you need to go back to the dawn of the 20th century when Prime Minister Balfour introduced his 1902 Education Act. This basically created 328 new Local Education Authorities who were put in charge of providing and controlling all aspects of their own education delivery, everything from building and maintaining schools to the training of teachers. The newly formed Cheshire Education Authority were quick to realise that the number of qualified teachers in the county was totally inadequate and so plans for a teaching training college were drawn up. CCTCC was born in 1908, opening in temporary buildings in the Mechanics Institute in Crewe town centre before moving into the purpose-built campus in July 1912. The women that enrolled in the early days, some of whom dedicated their whole lives to the profession, made a huge contribution to the expansion of education opportunities of all classes at the beginning of the 20th century.

Many of these women’s efforts remain unrecognised and for our third A Few Forgotten Women Friday we hope to go some way to rectify this.

You can find out a little of the flavour of the college in this article co-written by one of our team here.

We will again be asking that all findings are sent to us in a narrative form, even if this is only a few lines long. This will help us to make the stories public as quickly as possible. You may like to look at the reports from our previous Few Forgotten Women Fridays to see what was produced then. The shorter stories have been published together in the ‘Other Girls’ document. We will be asking for reports to be returned by Monday 28 August at the latest.

If you would like to take part, please get in touch. Please be aware that it may be difficult to find out about some of these women; there may be very little, or nothing, that can be discovered. We know that it can be both frustrating and disappointing if your allocated woman does not have much potential. If this is the case, please submit what you can find and we will allocate you a new name if you wish and if we still have some available. Don’t be afraid to admit defeat. Please also let us know if you perhaps had a relative that trained at CCTCC, we would love to be able to tell the stories of the women from other cohorts as well.


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