Friday, 27 May 2016

Blackburn Battlers

Even in these times of ever dropping social standards, it still takes a new kind of low for women to fight in the streets ... well mostly (although searching finds lots of examples). Historically its happened in working class areas such as this London scene from the 18th century.

Lady Brawlers .... 18th Century Style

Now don't get me wrong, even as a teen I had seen women fighting .... once famously, at a free for all post wedding party, when both sets of families set into each other with some gusto, and very little restraint from the men, nor the women. But mostly it was outside of the Hulme Labour Club in Manchester around thirty five years ago, where there was almost a regular Saturday night street cabaret at closing time. This as 'talent night' (no Karaoke back then) ended, and hordes of pissed up ladies came out of the club. Then, with the background of the last version of "I am woman" acting as the soundtrack for the action, invariably a fist fight between two or more or the ladies would kick off.

The causes of this fighting seemed to be either 'eye-balling' ... where one woman accused another of staring at her all night in an aggressive manner. Or 'infidelity' .... where one woman accused another of making a play for her man. In all truth, there seemed to be little actual justification for these claims, which in any case seemed to be more of an excuse to reopen an old feud of some sort. Anyway mayhem would ensure, with the drunken object of the ladies affection, often trying to intervene in an ineffectual manner, and often getting punched as well by one or other of these often fearsome women (I hesitate to use the term 'Battle-axe', although it fits).

Such was the regularity of these events, that I would usually swing past the Labour club on a Saturday night, on my way walking home from the city centre (I was invariably too broke to afford a taxi or bus, and would walk through the 'bandit country' of Hulme/Moss-side to get home ... trusting to being a fit young male to avoid trouble .... mostly worked), just to spend five minutes getting my second wind by having a ciggie, and watching events unfold. I wasn't alone in this, and one local old lady would pop out from the council flats when she saw me 'just to be near the action' as she said. She would go when I went, so I guess she relied on my presence to feel safe.

Anyhow, I was reminded of this long forgotten episode from my life, when I read a newspaper report of five women fighting (or 'scrapping' as it was called when I was a younger man), outside the school gate of Meadowhead Community Infants School in Blackburn, Lancashire. The mothers were filmed (the smart-phone really has changed the world we live in .... the cameras capture nearly every event), throwing punches, and pulling each others hair, even while holding onto prams! The fighting went on for around ten minutes, with the scene described by one onlooker as 'pandemonium'.

In the end there were three police cars, two police vans, an ambulance, and five women were taken away in handcuffs.

Blackburn Battlers .... Meadowhead Community Infants School.

All five women who were arrested by the police were bailed after being charged with suspicion of affray .... the oldest was 46 years old, with the youngest aged 17. Which just goes to prove that:
  1. Your never too old to get into trouble. Or,
  2. Your never too young , And,
  3. Motherhood brings no wisdom.

Sadly .... despite reading a lot of reports, I never did get to the bottom of what it was all about, or what happened when they got to court. But my guess is 'eye-balling' or 'infidelity', and a small fine for all involved.


  1. Sadly, not only do women fight but they so the gang thing of mob attacking as well. Your out of date old fella.

    We live in different times.

    1. Perhaps your right young man, but if so, I prefer my old fashioned values to those evidenced in a world of girl gangs. Thanks for the comment.


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