Heard Julie McClure speak on the radio last week about the experiences of the women in the Stanhope Street Laundry and wrote this poem in response to her story. She and her parents had been told that there were opportunities for young school leavers to gain an education by going to the Stanhope Street ‘training centre’. When she got there, at the age of 13, she was made to work in the laundry for the following three years.
The poem has been published today on Poetry 24. Please do leave a comment as while I’m completely unequal to the task of summing up her experience, I do think it’s an important national issue.