October 2018

Secret London Runs: Power Women of the East End

I’d had my eye on taking part in a Secret London Run so when I was invited to try our one of their tours, I jumped at the chance!

The Power Women of the East End tour is described as:

Led by your history-loving guide, you’ll run through the East End, stopping at places that tell the tales of the area’s most inspiring women. Visit the site of the Matchgirls Strike, see key places for the East London Suffragettes movement and pay tribute to those involved in the Poplar Rate Rebellion. We’ll be telling you about the struggle of the East End in the 19th and 20th centuries and the extraordinary women who led the masses to demand change.

The tour started outside of Aldgate East tub station and Vanessa and Cat. out guides, met us a few minutes after arrival, introduced themselves, told us about how the tour would work along with some background information to Secret London Runs. Once we were ready to go the tour began and we were running for a couple of minutes before our first stop.

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Now, I’m not going to give too much away as you should go and check out the tour yourself but we learnt about some amazing women and about what they went through.

  • Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
  • Annie Besant
  • Eleanor Marx
  • Catherine Booth
  • Milly Wiktop
  • Sylvia Pankhurst
  • Minnie Lansbury
  • Clara Grant

Now I bet, like me, you haven’t heard of many of these women or have even noticed the plaques and memorials dedicated to them across the East End. The Matchgirl’s Strike, Salvation Army, Suffragettes were just some of the themes of the women and it was so exciting delving into their history in an era where women had a lack of voice.

Three parts of the tour stood out for me.

Lord Morpeth Pub, the ELFS (East London Federation of Suffragettes) Womens Hall with some amazing street art of Sylvia Pankurst by @ketones6000 on the side. Sylvia was the founder of the ELFS and spent her years setting up a mother and baby clinic and making toys in East London.

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Bryant & May’s Factory on Fairfield Road, even though now housing I love an old factory and finding out about what went on there made it even more prominent to be stood outside.

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Tower Hamlets Cemetery to visit the gravestone of Clara Grant known as “The Bundle Woman of Bow” who gave out parcels of toys to children in the Bow area. The Graveyard was one of the most fantastic places I’ve ever visited, I’d love to go again in the future (a theme for a future tour maybe!).

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Vanessa and Cat were so knowledgeable – and to think they have day jobs too! How to remember the route and all of the information – to chat and run AND they’d both done separate tours that morning! I had the best time, though have to say my thighs were hurting at the end from the stops – a sign I need to do more interval training! I’ll be joining another tour again soon … I’d love to hear about ones that would interest you?


Three tours on my list to try:

  1. The Secret Gin Tour because why not? Gin and running, I’ll take that!
  2. Street Art, there’s so much to be seen when running and the Power Women of the East End went past some amazing street art, I’d love to discover more.
  3. Yule Jog, what better way to get in the mood for Christmas by visiting various lights and seasonal displays around the city!

www.secretlondonruns.com

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