September 2016 - the manuscript of Angela Tuckett's 'Our Enid' (to coincide with the launch of the Library's publication of that manuscript)
This month sees the publication of a long-overdue biography. It tells the story of Enid Stacy, an inspiring public speaker who won over tens of thousands of working class men and women to the cause of socialism in the late nineteenth century. As a feminist, she also argued for women's suffrage as central to socialism. A founding member of the Independent Labour Party, she toured the country — sometimes with the Clarion Van in Scotland and the North of England — to speak to large crowds.
To the ILP, there was ‘no clearer [nor] more convincing exponent’ of socialist principles, which led to the Fabians promoting her lecturing tours in America. She shared platforms with contemporaries such as Keir Hardie, Eleanor Marx, and Tom Mann. According to Mann, Enid 'could speak to thousands in the open air as though she was talking with each one in their own home’. For this reason, she was known affectionately as ‘Our Enid’ and remembered for years after her early death by many who heard her.
Despite these facts there has never been a full-length biography of Enid until this one, written by her niece Angela Tuckett.
Angela Tuckett was also a remarkable woman - author, historian, diarist, song writer, theatrical producer (with sister Joan), solicitor, political activist, Marxist scholar and lecturer, internationalist, feminist, qualified pilot and international hockey player. She was an active figure in the Communist Party of Great Britain from the 1930s.
After her husband Ike’s death in 1979 Angela turned seriously to researching the life of her aunt. She borrowed her diaries, papers and photographs from Enid's son and Angela's nephew, Gerard Widdrington and, with the continuing encouragement of Ruth and Eddie Frow, founders of the Working Class Movement Library, started early drafts of a book. She did not return to finish it, however, after rejections from several publishers.
Angela died in 1994 leaving the manuscript unpublished. Many boxes of material, including news cuttings, photographs, letters written by Angela in the course of her research and the manuscript itself, were donated to the Library.
It was Ruth and Eddie Frow’s wish that one day the biography of Enid Stacy would see the light of day. After a lot of hard work bringing it up to a publishable standard in a way in which Angela would have approved, everyone at the Library is delighted to see the end result.
Copies of Our Enid are available from the Library at a special introductory price of £5. You can buy it online (p&p costs added) here.