What Happened To The Real Sarah Chapman After Enola Holmes 2's Story

2022-11-14 14:38:20 By : Mr. Bieber He

Enola Holmes 2 features real-life 1888 matchgirls strike leader Sarah Chapman at the center of its plot, but what happened to her after the strike?

Warning! SPOILERS for Enola Holmes 2 ahead. Netflix's Enola Holmes 2 largely revolves around the story of London matchgirl Sarah Chapman and her uncovering and revealing the poor factory conditions in a match factory that led to the matchgirls' strike of 1888. The film's retelling of the true matchgirls' strike story wasn't entirely accurate, but it did highlight an important figure in British history in Chapman. Enola Holmes 2's end credits provide some further information about Sarah Chapman and the impact of her strike, but she lived a long life and has a great legacy worth further examining.

Enola Holmes 2 sees Enola take on her second case: the disappearance of matchgirl strike figure Sarah Chapman. Going undercover, it didn't take long for Enola to discover the horrific working conditions matchgirls faced. The real-life Chapman was a source in an 1888 article by Annie Besant exposing these conditions, and she and two other women sought Besant's assistance in organizing a strike. On July 5, 1888, an approximated number of 1,400 matchgirls walked out on strike and the ending of Enola Holmes 2 depicted Sarah mobilizing these girls with a rousing speech. A few weeks after this strike, the inaugural meeting of the Women Match Makers took place, the largest female union in the country at the time, of which Chapman was elected to the board. She would marry and start a family a few years later, eventually leaving Bryant & May Factory. She lived until age 83, and though she had left the factory behind, she remained a great supporter of women's rights until her death.

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As the end credits of Enola Holmes 2 read, the matchgirls strike of 1888 was "the first ever industrial action taken by women for women. It improved their working conditions forever." Three days into the strike, Bryant & May ended their fine system that took wages from matchgirls who arrived late, talked on the job, or went to the toilet, and re-hired employees they'd fired for speaking with Besant. It took another three years for them to stop using the yellow phosphorous in their matches that had caused matchgirls to contract the deadly infectious disease typhus, as portrayed in Enola Holmes 2.

The strike was also the first time a union of unskilled workers succeeded in striking for better pay and working conditions in London, and started a wave called "New Unionism" for unskilled workers. Along with these changes, the strike also helped raise public awareness about the dangerous working conditions that low-wage, unskilled workers were facing. Upon learning of the strike and reading Besant's articles, some consumers decided to boycott Bryant & May and/or donate to the strikers. With such a long-lasting impact, the end credits of Enola Holmes 2 ring true.

The disappearance of Sarah Chapman is essential to Enola Holmes 2, but in actuality, she never disappeared. Enola Holmes 2 has received positive reviews for its thrilling mystery, but much of it was made up. In the film, Bryant & May is renamed Lyons, and Sarah's secret lover is William Lyons, the son of the factory owner. Together, they planned to expose the company's wrongdoings. This was all added for dramatic effect, while the real Sarah Chapman had been working at Bryant & May for years, rising up into the position of booker in the Patent office of the factory. This earned her better wages than most and rather than living with a bunch of other poor matchgirls like in Enola Holmes 2, Sarah lived with her mother until she married and left the factory. Still, she saw an opportunity to speak up and make a change, and because she did, history was forever changed.

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