Monday, February 6, 2012

Millie, the Mill Girl of Manchester, New Hampshire


Recently the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Merrimack Valley Chapter heard a great talk by Lorre Fritchy, the writer and director of a new movie called “Millies” about the millworkers in Lawrence, Massachusetts during the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike.    I was inspired to post a photo of Manchester, New Hampshire’s mill girl statue, “Millie”.  It is located at the staircase on Commercial Street. 


A nearby plaque reads:

The Mill Girl
She stands here, for thousands of 19th century working women:  Industrial revolutionaries who broke with the past to earn their living making history and creating the future.   In 1880 one third of Manchester’s population, 3385 women, worked in the textile mills of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, situated below along the banks of the Merrimack River.
Sculptress: Antoinette Schultze
Funding for this public art project was made possible by gifts from:
Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation and Samuel P. Hunt Foundation
Dedicated September 9, 1988
Presented by the city of Manchester Parks and Recreation Commission 
and Manchester Art Commission

I originally believed this to be a unique statue commemorating women’s history and Manchester’s role in the American Industrial Revolution.   There are other statues of factory workers, including a group of female mill workers in Lowell, Massachusetts named “Homage to Women” http://sculpturesbymico.com/homagetowomen.htm.  And then I discovered there were three similar statues, all named “Millie” in England:

1.) In 2000 the city of Bradford on Avon, England dedicated a statue named “Millie” for the new millennium, but it depicts a female mill worker.  It was created by Dr. John Willats, a local sculptor in Bradford on Avon. http://www.bradfordonavon.co.uk/WhatToDo/milliesculptureb.html

2. ) A stainless steel sculpture was dedicated in 2007 at Colne Railway Station in England, and nicknamed “Millie”.  It has an information board telling about the life of the typical mill workers.  It was sculpted by Clare Biggar, an artist from Clitheroe. http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/1272643.the_statue_arriving_on_platform_is_our_mill_girl_millie/

3.) The Millie statue also in Belfast Northern Ireland to commemorate the Millies or “Shawlies” who labored in the textile mills there.   It was created by sculptor Ross Wilson and unveiled in 2010.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8700695.stm

It appears that the Manchester, New Hampshire Millie was first, followed by three British Millies.  Do any of you know of any other Millie statues?

For more information:

Millies movie information .  http://milliesmovie.com/

Lorre Fritchy’s video and film production company http://masterpeaceproductions.com/

Manchester Historic Association Millyard Museum http://www.manchesterhistoric.org/mill.htm

Massachusetts Society of Genealogists http://www.massog.org/

NOTE -  The 2013 New England Regional Genealogical Conference will be held a few blocks away from "Millie," the textile mill girl statue, at the Radisson Hotel, on 17 -21 April 2013 in Manchester, New Hampshire.  The theme will be "Woven in History - The fabric of New England".
http://nergc.org/

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Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. This is fascinating, Heather... I had no idea about these statues! Thanks for the post, and the great links also.

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