History of Sarah Chapman And The Matchstick Girls: The Real Story of Enola Holmes 2

History of Sarah Chapman And The Matchstick Girls: The Real Story of Enola Holmes 2

Sarah Chapman, who was one of the leaders of the Match Girls Strike in 1888, was the inspiration for the character of Sarah in Enola Holmes 2.

Enola Holmes 2 is inspired on a real-life historical event called the Matchgirls’ Strike; however, Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister did not take part in the event itself.

The history of the Match Girls’ Strike and Sarah Chapman are expertly woven into the plot of the second instalment of the Enola Holmes series, which is a wonderful blend of the wit and brilliance that we have come to anticipate from this genre. The fictionalisation of a period of history that is generally disregarded in historical accounts allows for the examination of the social upheaval that was raging through the streets of London.

In a society where many people are still coming together to fight for their rights, whether through unions or rallies, it serves as a useful reminder that we are stronger as a group in order to compete with those other groups.

Who Is Sarah Chapman in Enola Holmes 2?

The Matchgirls’ Strike was a genuine event in history, and Sarah Chapman was a real person who lived during that time.

In point of fact, the matchgirls’ strike was about a great deal more than being poisoned by phosphorous; it was also about the merciless and horrible working circumstances that they were forced to undergo.

The second instalment of the Enola Holmes series is missing the dancer and matchstick maker Sarah Chapman. Bessie, who is her sister, is anxious about her whereabouts and has asked Enola for assistance in locating her. Bessie has arrived at the detective agency just in time to make a request, and poor Enola is only two seconds away from departing.

After some time, she learns that Chapman had discovered evidence that the health concerns related with the use of phosphorus in matchmaking were being kept from the public. In Chapman’s determination to tell the world the truth, her old employers were kept in the dark about her whereabouts while she searched for a method to get in touch with Lord Tewkesbury, who had a reputation for being a great reformer. Chapman was desperate to tell the world the truth.

Despite the fact that Enola and Sherlock Holmes worked together to solve the case, the evidence was unfortunately destroyed; despite this, Sarah Chapman would not give up and was ultimately successful in calling a strike.

As the film goes on, Sarah reveals herself to be the main character, as well as the detective, the master of disguise, and the evidence gatherer. Her objective is to bring to light a cover-up that has been going on regarding the hazardous and often lethal working conditions at her factory.

Sarah gathers a wide variety of evidence in order to provide support for her claims and to fight for justice on behalf of the girls who have departed away. If Enola was interested in solving mysteries with another female investigator, Sarah would be a fantastic option to consider.

Early Life of Sarah Chapman

Sarah Chapman came into the world on October 31st, 1862. She was the fifth child born to Samuel Mackenzie, who worked as a brewer’s servant, and Sarah Ann Mackenzie, who had a total of seven children. Chapman had her formative years in the Mile End neighbourhood, and she would remain in London’s East End for the remainder of her life.

At the age of 19, Sarah had already begun her career as a matchmaker at Bryant & May, where she worked alongside her mother and older sister. By the time of the strike in 1888, Chapman had been working at the Bryant & May plant for a significant amount of time and held a position that offered a wage that was equivalent to others.

During the month of December in 1891, Sarah wed Charles Henry Dearman, a cabinet manufacturer. In the year 1892, the couple welcomed their first of six children, a daughter named Sarah Elsie. Later on, Sarah and her family made the move to Bethnal Green, which is where she would reside for the rest of her life. Charles Henry Dearman passed dead the next year, in 1922.

The Matchstick Girls and the Poisoning of Phosphorus

As shown in the scene depicting the assembly process in Enola Holmes 2, women and girls would use their bare hands to pick up finished matchsticks and place them in boxes.

Because of the nature of the work, being exposed to chemicals inevitably led to a number of unfavourable side effects and illnesses that were unique to this line of work. In the movie, Enola assumes the identity of a factory worker and discovers that the potentially fatal disease typhus may be diagnosed with a mouth swab.

Bryant & May, a cartel that had established itself in that section of London, paid a 16-year-old girl only four shillings per week, which was just enough for her to buy bread to eat after paying her rent. Bryant & May was responsible for the establishment of the cartel. The most significant risk was posed by a disease known as “phossy jaw,” which is a form of bone cancer brought on by prolonged exposure to phosphorus.

After being exposed to white phosphorus, a person can have flu-like symptoms as well as pain in the mouth and teeth. This illness is known as phossy jaw. It is not uncommon for people to have these potentially lethal symptoms of typhus fever. Lord McIntyre and the other people involved tried to cover up the deaths of the girls who worked for them by blaming them on typhus.

Sadly, factories like Bryant & May neglected these serious health concerns in their work environment. Workers asserted that either you fixed the issue on your own (by having teeth extracted, for example) or you would be fired from your job.
Another popular gripe was that foremen had their pay docked for infractions that were deemed to be minor, such as conversing on the job, dropping matches, or having a “filthy” workspace. 1888 was the year that women finally reached their breaking point as a result of the hazardous working conditions, including the rigid work environments and the fourteen-hour workdays.

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The Actual Match That Took Place Girl Strike

In 1888, there was a strike at the Bryant & May match factory; however, the rest of the plot’s features, such as the corruption and killings, are completely fictitious. It was a consequence of harsh working conditions, such as low pay and severe fines, and it was triggered by the unlawful firing of a worker. Both of these factors contributed to the issue.

This moment of triumph is fictitiously shown in the end of Enola Holmes 2, which concludes the series. The Chapman women, Bessie, Enola, and Sarah, urge the girls to stand up for themselves and leave.

In point of fact, Annie Besant, a freethinker and activist, later visited with workers outside the factory to learn more, and on June 23, she published an article titled “White Slavery in London” in The Link. This article was written about the situation in London. Despite Bryant & May’s best efforts to coerce the employees into signing statements refuting the claims, the employees declined to do so. On July 5, 1888, there was a strike that involved approximately 1,400 women and girls.

The next day, over two hundred women assembled on Bouverie Street in an effort to seek assistance from Annie Besant. One of the three ladies who asked Besant for assistance in organising a special committee was Chapman, and she was one of the women that met with Besant.

The women were successful in garnering support from a number of members of parliament by organising public forums, which garnered positive coverage in the media. The list of demands that Chapman and the strike committee presented to the management of Bryant & May was met with support from Toynbee Hall and the London Trades Council after they met with them.

After this, the women decided to band together and form a union, which they named the Union of Women Match Makers. On July 27, the union held its first meeting at Stepney Meeting Hall. The committee was comprised entirely of females, with Sarah Chapman being one of its twelve members.

It was the largest organisation of its kind for women in the country. After being elected as the Union’s first delegate to the Trades Union Congress, Chapman represented the Union in the International Trades Union Congress that was held in London in the year 1888. (TUC).

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The passing of Sarah Chapman

On November 27, 1945, Sarah Chapman passed away at the age of 83 when she was a patient at Bethnal Green Hospital. Only three of her six children were able to outlive their mother. At the same time that Sarah was laid to rest in the Manor Park Cemetery among five other old people, the burial site was left unmarked.

Since 2019, The Matchgirls Memorial has been working to improve the general public’s understanding of the Matchgirls’ Strike as well as the individuals who took part in it. Donations made it feasible to erect a memorial gravestone for Sarah Chapman, and the organisation aims to create a statue honouring the strikers and organisers in the future as well.

In the year 2020, a petition was established in response to the desire of the Manor Park Cemetery to bury Sarah Chapman’s burial under a mound of dirt. The petition requested that the grave be protected. In July of that year, a motion was presented to Parliament expressing concern over the planned destruction of Sarah Chapman’s burial place. The motion further said that the destruction of Sarah Chapman’s burial place was not acceptable.

In 2021, it was disclosed that a brand-new housing development in Bow would be given the name Sarah Chapman in her honour. A blue plaque commemorating the Matchgirls’ Strike will be affixed on the wall of the former Bryant & May factory in Bow, London, according to an announcement made by English Heritage in the year 2022.

Sarah Chapman
Sarah Chapman

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Is Enola Holmes 2 real story?

Enola Holmes 2 is partially based on the real life of Sarah Chapman.

Where can I watch Enola Holmes 2?

You can watch Enola Holmes 2 on Netflix.

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