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Girls Club

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Capture Projects have been given funding from Historic England to develop a project looking at the hidden working class history of the Deptford Slaughterhouse Girls, also known as the gut girls.


Who were the Slaughter House Girls???

Deptford was known for its’s fish gutting and meat slaughtering warehouses and spaces. Cattle came from around the world and ended up at the Foreign Cattle Market in Deptford (now known as Convoys Wharf) Women and girls came to work in Deptford from the ports of Scotland and Ireland, it was hard filthy work but paid well and meant that these women were financially independent. The women were tough and wild, there’s tales of them covering themselves in flour and vanilla and marauding down Deptford High Street with their knives hidden in their knickers fighting men in the pubs and drinking!


Helena Duchess of Albany set up a club for the girls in 1896 called The Slaughterhouse Girls Club and the School for Domestic Economy as she was shocked by their unladylike behaviour and wanted to stop them behaving badly. The school was a place they could be ‘reformed’ and learn to behave, they were taught ladylike skills and domestic economy so that they could get new work entering into service in private households as maids, this took away their autonomy and isolated them from their friends. In a sense this is the story of oppression of working class women by middle and upper class women trying to do good.


The Girls Club became the Albany Institute and this then became The Albany as we know it today so without these wild independent women we wouldn’t have a great community theatre in the heart of Deptford!

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