History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

Blood on Prime Minister William Gladstone’s Statue

Gladstone statueWhy did women drip blood onto a statue of Prime Minister William Gladstone?

The engaging, free, two part enquiry about the Bryant and May Match Girls, starts with a mystery about the red hands on a  statue of a famous Prime Minister. It goes on to encourage students to make educated guesses.  They   use their skills to piece together the evidence to help answer the big question.

This is of course the famous story of the Match Girls who worked in East London in the late 19th century and went on strike. The women were so angry when they thought their wages had been used to pay for a new statue of Gladstone. They subsequently cut themselves and daubed the statue in blood.

Your students will listen to a modern day song,  look at some accessible source material to help them pose potential questions, then they go on to interview women’s rights campaigner, Annie Besant (teacher in role).

This then leads onto the second part of the enquiry which asks whether Annie made a difference to the girls working conditions? Your students will create a living graph, work out the extent of Annie’s role in improving the lot of the match girls. Finally, they will discuss the question ‘was the daubing of blood on Gladstone’s statue an act of violence or an act of remembrance?’

This lesson was written by the very talented Christina Brown – we thank Christina for sharing her work with us.

Download lesson

  • Lesson presentation x 2
  • Lesson write-up x 2
  • Lyric annotation sheet
  • Teacher in role information
  • Card sort

History Resource Cupboard


Receive details of our latest courses, new lesson downloads, exclusive discounts and the latest articles with ideas to help you enliven your classroom teaching.