Leader of the Opposition, the Rt Hon Keir Starmer, KC, MP has confirmed that he plans to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of Margaret Bondfield, one of Chard’s own to the British political landscape.
Unfortunately, he plans to do this on the anniversary of her death. The Museum is unsure if Keir will be around in 2053 to honour his commitment.
However, January 2024 will celebrate the Centenary, when during the first Labour (minority) government Margaret was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour. This made her the first female government minister but outside the cabinet.
She was made Minister of Labour in the second Labour Government in 1929. She had previously been elected Chair (now President) of the TUC in September 1923 making her the first woman to that post. She had been the first woman to be elected to the General Council of the TUC in 1917. She resigned as chair of TUC when appointed to the ministerial post. This upset many women trade unionists.
The Museum is planning to celebrate this Centenary and is starting to work with other organisations throughout the town to make this a truly Chard celebration. As Sue Dockett, author of ‘Out of the Wilderness’, Reviving the reputation of a forgotten Labour Party founder’ suggested, Chard Museum 'is really the home of Margaret’s memory, but Chard was her birthplace’.
Sue paid tribute to both Gerrie (Bews) and Gwyneth (Jackson) whose research and work motivated her in writing ‘Out of the Wilderness’. Anyone interested in helping organise or has ideas about the Town should celebrate this centenary can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
'Out of the Wilderness' is available in the Museum shop or in our on-line shop (£2.00/copy)