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Jessie Eden is an enigmatic union convener. She leads all-female factory workers in Birmingham out on strike protesting on the Bull Ring. She was based on the real life person of the same name.

Character History


Jessie was born Jessie Shrimpton on February 24, 1902 at 61 Talbot Street in Winson Green. After WWI, her boyfriend returned from Passchendaele with “shellshock” (post-traumatic stress disorder). He subsequently committed suicide via self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and she grieves her boyfriend's death.

In 1924, Jessie is a shop steward at the Lucas factory in Sparkhill. She brings all the female workers in the spot-welding and wire-cutting shops out on strike that day. They are protesting at poor conditions, lack of holidays, unsanitary lavatory provisions and lower pay for female workers. All the female factory workers in the city join the protest to march on the Bull Ring. Among them, as well, are Polly Gray, Esme Shelby, and Lizzie Stark, at the behest of Linda Shelby.

Series 4 · 1925 - 1926

Jessie first appears in the men’s toilet in Thomas Shelby's factory because there are no women’s toilets higher up in the factory. She comes to Thomas Shelby to bravely speak with him about equal pay for women across all his factories. She warns him that she can blow whistle and bring his workers out on strike.

Later, Thomas turns up out of the blue at her home. Under the false pretense of an “improved offer” for his factory workers, she allows him in, but he quickly reveals that he’s actually looking for knowledge of the Italian family trying to kill his. During a conversation with Jessie, she recalls the knowledge of a past lover of his, Greta Jurossi. Likewise, Tommy admits that he has researched her past lovers.

By the end of the show, despite being a Communist, Jessie votes for Thomas Shelby as the Member of Parliament for Birmingham. He was standing for the Labour Party, and she voted Labour instead of voting Communist. Tommy convinced her that he was a Communist, or at least a Socialist too by saying "Your cause is my cause" and kissing her. Her dreams are quickly crushed when she sees Lizzie waiting at the bottom of the steps for Tommy with their baby, and she realizes that Tommy was using her in some way. She questions whether he is a Communist or not, and was disappointed when he became a Fascist.

Series 5 · 1929

Jessie does not appear much throughout 1929, but connections are made between her and Tommy. Ben Younger eventually questions why the information he is providing on Jessie has stopped, but Tommy is unable to provide an answer. She does, however, continue to ramp up the riots outside of Mosley's speeches and other public gatherings.


Tommy Shelby

Jessie Eden has a tendency to make whimsical remarks to Tommy regarding the hypothetical communist revolution, which always seems distantly on the horizon. Tommy usually disregards these statements. With Jessie doing her research on Thomas, she has a real glimpse into what Thomas was in the past before the war and life had tainted him along with his hopes and dreams. She unearths something in his past that shows his vulnerable side, which not a lot of people would have seen. Moreover, she discovers they have similarities. Both of their past loves had passed away, they have a sexual relationship but it was basically just Tommy using her for information on the communists.


Series 4 Appearances
The Noose Heathens Blackbird Dangerous The Duel The Company
Series 5 Appearances
Black Tuesday Black Cats Strategy The Loop The Shock Mr Jones


"You've never been a friend of the government. They've used you. Now I image you've found out already that no amount of money allows you to pass through the steel sheets that separate class from class."

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