I was commissioned by Hopscotch Films to write a short film for their programme 1911: A Year in Review.
There were 6 shorts in all, based around the major news events from that year, and I was given the Singer Factory strike at Clydebank. It was a tricky brief; the strike was historically significant and led to Red Clydeside and the success of the Glasgow rent strikes among others, but the Singer strike itself was unsuccessful. But I soon found a champion in Jane Rae, one of the leaders, who went on to be politically important. (She has a street in Clydebank named after her now). There were a few accounts of the strike, mostly interviews from decades later, and I was also able to follow the coverage in the papers of the time, but I didn’t have much more to go on in terms of personal details. Rae’s brother described Jane as “a fiery customer” and the phrase stuck with me. I must have rewritten the end a dozen times, as I attempted to glimpse the silver lining in the doomed strike.
Hopscotch were keen to have animation in the short, and I thought a patchwork quilt would be a nice storytelling device. The animator John McGeoch did a fantastic job, using felt characters to make it visually stunning.
You can see the other films here.
Writer Emma Lennox
Actor Pauline Goldsmith
Director Clara Glynn
Animator John McGeoch