The Iron Lady or a woman conforming to patriarchal expectations in 1980s Britain? A Feminist icon or the feminine face of patriarchal politics? Since the end of her almost twelve-year term as Prime Minister in 1990, the legacy of Margaret Thatcher is one that has been widely debated in Britain.
Over the past year, I have taken a particular interest in the North Manchester slums as my own family lived there until the end of WW2. They survived on what little money my Great Grandfather and his eldest sons could bring home from their work at London Road Station (now known as Piccadilly Station). But who were those residing in these slums?
In 1990, the inmates of Strangeways prison began the longest riot in British penal history. Once revered as a “last bastion of discipline,” the prison stood as the largest penitentiary in England, holding around 900 men at full capacity. By 1990, a peak of over 1,600 prisoners had been confined within its walls, becoming a ‘human warehouse’ with a dangerous guard-to-prisoner ratio. It was the perfect environment for revolt to fester, with cries for justice from disenfranchised men being inevitably ignored. Inmates began to talk of revolt, one specifically, Paul Taylor, who became the ring-leader of such discussions. Taylor was confined in an attempt to silence his protest but paradoxically, it was there he met Alan Lord, the second ring-leader of the riot, and the two began to plan their systemic overthrow.