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Lecture on International Womens Day – Mary Ann McCracken
March 8, 2018 @ 12:00 pmfree
Mary Ann McCracken was associated with the Poor House from the very early days, her uncles Henry and Robert Joy were very active members of the Board but a Ladies Committee was not set up until March 1824.
The initial Minutes made the following statement;
“The Ladies forming this Committee respectfully submit this proposal, to the Committee of Gentlemen, in the hope of obtaining their approbation and support to enable them to effect their object; And beg most earnestly to assure them, that there shall be no interference whatever with any of their managements and regulations.”
The ladies worked diligently and assisted the men’s committee in areas such as finding apprenticeships for the girls and obtaining instruction for the girls in how to make and repair their own clothes. Mary Ann taught these children in the same way as her mother had skilled her in the practical and domestic chores.
However, Mary Ann had bigger dreams for these children. The idea of infant education was very new, with the first one opening in Belfast in the 1820s. Mary Ann was determined that one should open in the Poor House. Her first proposal was denied by the men’s Committee, they claimed it was premature to be thinking of such a facility.
Mary Ann said nothing more for about nine months when the Ladies committee went back to the men’s and suggested that it was inappropriate for one old woman to be minding 19 babies under the age of three. But the gentlemen came back and told the Ladies that upon mature deliberation that the opening of an infant school was not advisable.
There is so much more to this story and all details will be covered in the FREE lecture in Clifton House Belfast!
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