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Bessie Wild

 

Bessie Berry got involved in the Communist Party in her mid to late 20s in the early 1930s.

 

She and Sam Wild (see separate entry) met during the course of Party activity when he came back from Spain. They married and lived in Longsight in a council house on Birch Hall Lane in Manchester for many years.

 

Bessie had had very little education but, having represented the Party in a range of activities and having become a noted speaker on women’s issues, as well as wider political themes, her extensive personal development as a political figure saw her decide, at the age of 40 and with four children, to go to college to train as a teacher. 

 

Becoming a teacher saw her political work escalate if anything and, when Bessie was elected onto the Executive Committee of the Communist Party, the Manchester Evening News ran an intense hate campaign in its pages based on a presumption that a teacher would indoctrinate her pupils. Bessie’s headmistress defended her before the Manchester Education Committee.

 

As an EC member Bessie formally represented the Party on delegations to the Soviet Union and Bulgaria during the 1950s.

 

Source: details extracted from an article by Sarah Irving based on an interview with Dolores Long, the daughter of Sam Wild and Bessie Wild in June 2009:

http://radicalmanchester.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/sam-wild-and-bessie-berry/