Lives of Ipswich women (1850-1950)
I worked on a book about women's lives in Ipswich for about a year. It was commissioned by Pen & Sword and due to be published to mark the centenary of the extension of the female franchise in 1918. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete it after I became ill in August 2017 but, now fully recovered, I am gradually putting some of my material on this website.
Charlotte Alderton, nee Kettle, was born in Hadleigh but spent most of her life in St Clement's parish, a poor, dockside district of Ipswich. We know something about her life because her husband, a disabled former Thames bargeman, wrote a memoir of their lives together. It is unlikely that Charlotte herself was able to read and write fluently, if at all, and without Joseph's narrative she would be truly 'hidden from history'. As a young woman, she was a silk binder and would have been paid poverty wages. Her married life was spent entirely in the domestic sphere, running a household and caring for her family and taking on paid work when it fitted in with these duties. John Alderton, the actor, is one of her descendants and owns the family memoir which he is hoping to make into a film.