What was Matchgirl Strike 1888? The true story of Sarah Chapman in Enola Holmes 2

Despite being a fictional web series, Enola Holmes 2 has depicted the true story of London matchgirl Sarah Chapman

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The much-awaited Enola Holmes season 2 was finally released on Netflix on November 4, 2022, and the fictional web series is the next 'Big Thing' to watch on OTT. Notably, a few days after Enola Holmes 2 release, the spy-thriller topped the charts of Netflix in multiple countries including India. Courtesy of Enola Holmes 2 star cast which includes actors like Henry Cavil, Millie Bobby Brown and more, the spy thriller has been buzzing among fans. For the unversed, British actor Millie Bobby Brown plays the title character who is also Sherlock Holmes’ sister. Sherlok Holmes is portrayed by none other than Hollywood star actor Henry Cavil. Now, Enola Homes 2 has been raising many eyebrows for inducing a real-life incident of the infamous Matchgirl Strike 1888.

Yes, you heard it right. Despite being a fictional web series, Enola Holmes 2 has depicted the true story of London matchgirl Sarah Chapman. Although Enola Homes season 2 has highly dramatized the story of Sarah Chapman and Matchgirl Strike 1888, it is indeed a true story. For those who are yet to watch the newly released spy-thriller, Enola take on her second case in the series which is related to the disappearance of matchgirl strike figure Sarah Chapman. Going undercover, it did not take long for Enola to discover the horrific working conditions matchgirls faced.

Now, the question arises, who is Sarah Chapman and what was the 1888 matchgirls strike?

As per UK media reports, the Match Girls' strike was an industrial action taken up by workers of the Bryant and May factory against the unjustified working schedules and lack of health security of the female labours. In London’s East End, women and young girls from the surrounding area would turn up at 6:30 in the morning to start a long fourteen hour shift of perilously dangerous and grueling work with almost very low wages at the end of the day. Notably, many of the girl workers in the factory were just 13-years of age. Not only this, the match workers would be required to stand for their work all day and with only two scheduled breaks, any unscheduled toilet break taken would be deducted from their meager wages.

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The match girls' strike of 1888 was not only against the unjust working ecosystem of the matchbox-making factory but also against health security. The production of match sticks involved dipping the sticks, made from poplar or pine wood, into a solution made up of many ingredients including phosphorus, antimony sulphide, and potassium chlorate. Within this mixture, there were variations in the percentage of white phosphorus however the use of it in production would prove to be extremely dangerous. In fact, one of the severe impact included a disease called 'phossy jaw' which was an extremely painful type of bone cancer caused by the phosphorus in the match production leading to horrendous disfiguration of the face.

Coming to Sarah Chapman was among the deputation including Mary Cummings, and Mrs Naulls who called to social activist and journalist Annie Besant to see the injustice against thousands of women labourers, Notably, Social activist Annie Besant became involved in the situation with her friend Herbert Burrows and published an article in her halfpenny weekly paper The Link on 23 June 1888 which brought everything in the limelight.

With Enola Holmes 2 already doing rounds among the fans, the spy-thriller is indeed a must-watch for those looking to watch a perfect amalgamation of fiction and reality.