Queer Places:
Millfield, Butleigh Road, Street BA16 0YD, United Kingdom
Arnos Vale Cemetery Arnos Vale, Bristol Unitary Authority, Bristol, England

Alice Clark (1 August 1874 – 11 May 1934)[1] was a feminist and businesswoman whose life encompassed many other activities and who began historical research at the age of 38. Clark argued that in 16th century England, women were engaged in many aspects of industry and agriculture. The home was a central unit of production and women played a central role in running farms, and some trades and landed estates. Their useful economic roles gave them a sort of equality with their husbands. However, Clark argues, as capitalism expanded in the 17th century, there was more and more division of labour with the husband taking paid labour jobs outside the home, and the wife reduced to unpaid household work. Middle-class women were confined to an idle domestic existence, supervising servants; lower-class women were forced to take poorly paid jobs. Capitalism, therefore, had a negative effect on powerful women. [2]

Alice was a daughter of William Stephens Clark (1839-1925) and Helen Priestman Bright (1840–1927). The Clark family were Quakers, of shoe-making fame - C. and J. Clark Ltd. Manufacturer of boots, shoes & sheepskin rugs.[1] Alice had five siblings, including an older brother named, John Bright Clark, another brother Roger Clark, who co-founded the Friends' League for Women's Suffrage, a Quaker group of reformers. Roger Clark's wife Sarah Bancroft Clark was a tax resister and suffragist active in several political groups. A sister, Margaret Clark Gillett (1878–1962), who was a botanist and suffragist. Another sister, Esther Bright Clothier who, along with Alice were successive secretaries of NUWSS. Also, a younger sister, named Dr Hilda Clark (1881-1955), who was a physician and humanitarian aid worker. Hilda Clark's involvement in the League of Nations, the Women's Peace Crusade, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom as well as her numerous fact-finding visits to countries such as Greece are also reflected in her papers, her peace work through letters, and her visit to Greece in 1923 through lantern slides which accompanied her talks. In the 1930's, Hilda Clark worked as a public speaker and broadcaster on international issues. She worked for the relief of child refugees from the Spanish Civil War and aided refugees from Nazi Germany and from Austria. In 1940, when her home in London was bombed, she moved to Kent. In 1952 she returned to Street, where she died on 24 February 1955. The personal papers of Hilda Clark, humanitarian aid worker and physician, brought to life Quaker relief work in war-torn Europe during and after World War I.

Alice was strongly influenced by the ‘first wave' of feminism, particularly by debates about female economic dependence and ‘parasitism' on men and its negative effects on women and society as a whole. She also needs to be understood in the context of early 20th-century concerns about the social effects of industrialization and pioneering sociological investigations into contemporary conditions of the poor, and increasing interest in what was then called ‘economic history.'

Before she went to the London School of Economics, she spent much of her adult life (despite long periods of illness) working in the family factory, starting with an informal apprentice, to become a director in 1904. She was active in the suffrage cause, as a Liberal and on the Friends' Committee for the Relief of War Victims. She originally took up a studentship to research women's history in 1913 during one of her enforced breaks for illness, and completed her research after the war. After Working life of women was finished, she returned to the family business.

She died on 11 May 1934, at Millfield, her home, in Street ( Millfield School). Her remains were cremated at Arnos Vale.


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