Tea Party Update…

What an amazing discussion we have just had at Mid Pennine Arts, talking all things Ethel Carnie Holdsworth. It was great to hear from all of our volunteers the snippets of information that they have discovered about this amazing mill worker turned bestselling author. The enthusiasm and drive that we have had from our volunteers so far has been amazing and reflects Carnie’s determination, it is great to see the project develop in this way.

We began by reflecting on Carnie’s writing, but where to begin was the question? In particular, it was interesting to look at her writing in the Daily Herald as this very much highlight’s her humour and feistiness. As well as the Herald Carnie wrote for a number of other newspapers including Christian Common World, The Women Worker, Clear Light and The Weekly Telegraph. How did she find the time we may ask, whilst writing several books, poems and having a family of her own?

We then moved on to looking more closely at Carnie’s poetry, unpicking one poem in particular ‘Why?’ from one of Carnie’s poetry books ‘Voices of Womanhood.’ This is one of a number of poems being considered to be put forward to feature in the National Poetry Archive and YOU can join us in making this decision via our Facebook page.

It was also a great opportunity to discuss with the volunteers another outcome of the project, a production piece. It was great to hear everyone’s different ideas regarding this and we started to form a storyboard of key events and stages in Carnie’s life that we regard as being important. This is something we will share at our next event ‘Searching For a Factory Girl’, so watch this space!!

We were also really excited to discuss our next Radicals Research Trip with our last being a visit to the Royal Exchange Theatre to see Queen’s of a Coal Age. We are hoping to take our team of volunteers to the People’s History Museum to see one of their current exhibitions ‘Represent’, which reflects on those who campaigned for better representation; most famously the suffragists and the militant suffragettes. We look forward to getting this organised in the next few weeks!






Ethel Update

Our second tea party held at the Mid Pennine Arts office was a great opportunity to catch up over tea and cake and hear what information people had discovered since meeting at One Sixty! In particular it was exciting to hear that a relative of Ethel Carnie’s had been in touch, who we hope to soon meet, an amazing opportunity to find out more about this Lancashire mill worker turned best selling author!

Two copies of Clear Light, an anti-fascist journal that Carnie edited and produced during the 1920’s has also been located at the Working Class Movement Library in Manchester, the scale of which would challenge today’s readers. The journal was in many ways aimed at females and emphasised on asking women to share their thoughts. This once again highlights Ethel’s formidable passion as a campaigner as well as being an amazing writer… Go Ethel!

”Despite being flawed we must keep going to do our best…”

In the words of Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, we may not always be perfect but we must always continue to do our best! Throughout discussion we were continuously reminded of Ethel’s determination, strength, bravery, she was almost invincible.

Pendle Radicals - vols gathering - 31.7.18 - 2

What couldn’t she do?

We even discovered that in October 1930 Ethel helped to set up Bebel House in Kensington, where she worked as honouree director, the purpose of which was to educate trade unionists to be propagandists.

This inspired us to think further about our Production Piece, in what way should we show her life, what views and beliefs of hers are important to draw attention to? We reflected also on our recent trip to the Royal Exchange theatre which prompted us to think about what techniques and theatrical devices could be used. After all by the age of 46, Carnie had written 10 novels, 2 films, numerous short stories, 15 serials, several poems and essays as well as editing and producing Clear Light…

It was amazing to start visualising this and without the volunteers contribution this wouldn’t have been possible, the little snippets of information that everyone keeps on discovering is allowing us to continue Ethel’s story, her feistiness, work ethic and incredible literacy!




A night at the theatre…

Queens of the Coal Age

Our first Radicals Research Trip was to the Royal Exchange Theatre to see Queens of the Coal Age, and what a great evening it was! The production was centred around the story of  four fearless women who stood up for change, they were BRAVE, DETERMIND and in so many ways showed POWER and FORTITUDE.

Does this remind you of anyone? Of course, one of our Radicals Ethel Carnie Holdsworth.

Ethel Writing

The purpose of the play was to very much celebrate the fighting spirit of these women and to not allow their protest to be forgotten. It carried on their determination and bravery and allows for people to remember their passion.

This is similar to the aim of our Pendle Radicals project, to not let people such as Ethel Carnie be forgotten and therefore pay tribute to her life and career.

This therefore was a great opportunity to gather more research and an insight into what one of the main outcomes of the Pendle Radicals Project may be….



Espressos and Ethel

‘’She is Radical…’’

A few weeks ago we met at One Sixty Café to talk all things Ethel Carnie over a few cups of coffee, and what a stimulating afternoon it was! It was amazing to see so many people interested in our local girl, Ethel. Having being born in Oswaldtwistle and later moving to Great Harwood with her family, Carnie was quick to make her impression as a working class writer, feminist and social activist. Carnie was certainly radical in her writing, helping her to reach the oppressed with a glimmer of hope for a better future. So why don’t we know more about this Lancashire girl?


The Pendle Radicals Project aims to answer this question, exploring a number of radicals such as Ethel, to bring their stories to life. This will provide local people with a new sense of identity and a new understanding of their history but most importantly a new pride in where they live.

Meeting at the One Sixty Café was a great starting place for this, providing local people with an insight into the life of Ethel, and of course enjoying a few cups of coffee and a slice of cake! The talk gathered a lot of discussion and raised many questions regarding Ethel, her life and her writing career. Everyone was in awe of Ethel, her attitude and views, her writing style and wished for this not to be forgotten.

Mill Worker Turned Best Selling author, quite extraordinary…. What would she be fighting for today?

As the meeting continued, more and more hands flew in the air wanting to volunteer their time and become part of the Radicals Research team, helping to investigate and find out more about Radicals such as Ethel. This enthusiasm was much appreciated and we are eager to hear what people have found out! This of course will be at our Next Meeting, which is happening very soon.

I, myself have just found a really interesting Essay ‘’The Development of a Working Class Feminist Vision in Ethel Carnies Poetry’’ which I am eager to get back to. However, I will be back soon to unveil what more we have discovered about Ethel….

Become a part of the Radicals Research team your self… we promise you an exciting journey…

Contact Nick Hunt for more details.