Notes & Queries

Here is the image of the badge purchased by the Friends. It is catalogued so can be viewed in the reading room (TWL.2016.5).

It was possibly made by a craftswoman who, on occasion, supplied goods for bazaars, rather than being a commission direct from the NUWSS.

image003

Friends of The Women’s Library  AGM  

Wednesday 22 June 2016, 5.30 for 6.00 pm

at the Gender Institute, 69 Aldwych.

Minutes

  1. 1.    Attendance:Amy Erickson, Susan Cohen, Mary Evans, Eleanor Payne, Christine Hay,  Elizabeth Crawford, Miriam David, Irene Cockroft, Arabella Hobson, A.E.L. Davis, Carol A Cooper, Martin Reid, Judith Bourne, Christine Wise, Janet Grenier, David Lawrence, Jean Holder, Anne Summers, Lorna Hawthorne,  Jane Grant, Diana Dollery, Mary Joannou, Jean Gooding, Susan Pares, David Doughan, Sandy Shulman, Jill Liddington, Vivien Hughes, Katharine Milcoy,

2      Apologies:   Anna Towlson, Nicola Wright, Norman Gooding, Mary Kennedy, Gill Sutherland, Dulcie Groves, Gill Rankeen, Kalyani Menon, Sally Alexander, Caro Bailey, Margaret Chambers, Annette Lawson, Sylvia Ayling, Iris Barrow, Ann Soutter, Moira Edmunds, Angela John, Reverend Mabbs, Jean Rankine, Mavis Longhorn, Gill Barrow,

3      Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 15 July 2015                                    Matters Arising: – To be dealt with during the meeting under item 8 Minutes Agreed: Minutes duly signed.

4      Annual Reports:  a) Chair – Annual Report 2015-2016

5      The chair gave her annual report of the activities of the Friends of the Women’s Library.

Financial Activities Year end March 31st 2016

Please see attached document.

c) Membership Report:

The membership secretary noted that we have welcomed 12 new members this year, overall the membership has declined slightly, but remains at about 220, where it has been for many years.

5. Elections of Officers and Committee and appointment of Independent Examiner

Officers: Anne Summers nominated as Chair,  Lorna Hawthorne nominated as Treasurer, Jean Holder nominated as Secretary, Katharine Milcoy Website Monitor

Members Elected: Susan Pares, Judith Bourne, Jane Grant, Jean Gooding, Gill Sutherland, David Doughan, Mary Kennedy, Mary Joannou

6. Constitutional Amendments:

Friends of The Women’s Library AGM 2016: proposed Constitutional amendments.

Deleted sections of the Constitution are bracketed [ ]; additions are in bold. The object throughout has been to avoid combining plural pronouns with singular verbs.

H.Determination of Membership of Executive Committee

A member of the Executive Committee shall cease to hold office if [delete: he or she]:

(1)           [delete: is] disqualified from acting as a member of the Executive Committee by virtue of section 45 of the Charities Act 1992 (or any statutory re-enactment of modification of that provision);

 

(2)           [delete: becomes] incapable by reason of mental disorder, illness or injury of managing and administering [delete: his or her own] personal affairs;

 

(3)           [delete: is] absent without the permission of the Executive Committee from all their meetings held within a period of six months and the Executive Committee resolve that [delete: his or her] this member’s office be vacated; or

 

(4)           [delete: notifies to] the Executive Committee has been notified of a wish to resign (but only if at least three members of the Executive Committee will remain in office when the notice of resignations [delete: to take] takes effect.

P.Annual General Meeting

(1)           There shall be an Annual General Meeting of the Charity which shall be held in the month of June in each year or as soon as practicable thereafter.

 

(2)           Every Annual General Meeting shall be called by the Executive Committee.  The secretary shall give at least 21 days’ notice of the Annual General Meeting to all the members of the Charity.  All the members of the Charity shall be entitled to attend and vote at the meeting.

 

(3)           The Executive Committee shall present to each Annual General Meeting the report and accounts of the Charity for the preceding year

4) Nominations for election to the Executive Committee may be made by email or l post by members of the Charity and must be in the hands of the secretary of the Executive Committee at least 14 days before the annual general meeting.  Should nominations exceed vacancies, election shall be by ballot.

5) Resolutions to be put to the Annual General Meeting must be in the hands of the secretary of the Executive Committee at least 14 days before the Meeting.

S.Notices

Any notice required to be served on any member of the Charity shall be by email or post and shall be served by the secretary or the Executive Committee on any member either personally, electronically or by sending it through the post in a prepaid letter addressed to such member’s [delete: at his or her] last known address in the United Kingdom, and any letter so sent shall be deemed to have been received within 10 days of posting.

Amendment Agreed;

7. Any Other Business.  It was suggested that the timing of the AGM be deferred to a later start in order to encourage more members who work to attend.

 

 

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

 

 

 

REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

FOR THE YEAR ENDED

31ST MARCH 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charity Number: 277165

 

 

Accountancy Aid

26 Cherry Orchard Road

Bromley, Kent, BR2 8NE

020 8462 5832

 

 

 

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE
YEAR ENDED 31ST MARCH 2016

 

 

Contents

Pages

 

 

Legal and administrative information

1

 

 

Report of the trustees

2-5

 
Report of the independent examiner

6

Statement of Financial Activities

7

Balance Sheet

8

Notes forming part of the financial statements

9-10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1

 

 

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

 

 

Current Trustees

Dr Anne Summers

Lorna Hawthorne

Lady Diana Dollery

David Doughan MBE

Dr Jean Gooding MBE

Jean Holder MBE

Dr Mary Kennedy

Dr Katharine Milcoy

Dr Jane Grant

Susan Pares

Dr Gill Sutherland

Dr Mary Joannou

Charity Offices

 

 

30 Stanstead Manor

St James Road

Sutton

Surrey

SM1 2AZ

 

Charity Number

277165

 

 

Independent Examiner

Roger Storey FCMA, FAIA

 

26 Cherry Orchard Road

Bromley

Kent

BR2 8NE

 

 

2

 

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

TRUSTEES’ REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31ST MARCH 2016

 

The trustees’ present their report along with the financial statements of the charity for the year ended 31st March 2016.  The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the accounting policies set out on page 11 and comply with the charity’s trust deed and applicable law.

 

OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES

 

Our primary objective is to advance the education of the public by the promotion, support, assistance and improvement of Britain’s main library and museum resource on women and the women’s movement especially concentrating on Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries. Our primary activity is to support the Women’s Library by attracting friends by means of social activities. The Trustees confirm that they have paid due regard to the Charity Commission guidance on public benefit before deciding what activities the charity should undertake.

 

ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE YEAR

 

We are delighted to report that Eleanor Payne’s post as Education Officer at LSE has been extended for at least a further year.  Eleanor attends the meetings of the Friends’ Executive Committee, and has been very responsive to ideas coming from the Committee and the wider membership, not least in connection with the 150th anniversary of the women’s petition to the House of Commons for the parliamentary vote in 1866; I hope many of you will have the opportunity to see the anniversary exhibition, ‘Endless Endeavours’, which follows the fortunes of the Fawcett Society and its forerunners, and continues until 27th August.  This is also a good moment to thank and congratulate executive member Jane Grant for her work in pressing for and helping to resource this exhibition, which amongst many treasures incorporates a beautiful hanging created by Ann Dingsdale.

 

Members will hear at the AGM how far beyond LSE and Academia Eleanor is publicising and extending the use of TWL’s holdings, including visits to and from schools, with International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, and in connection with the ‘history of feminism’ strand in GCSE Sociology.  She is closely involved with the exhibitions programme, organising twice monthly talks by curators in connection with the displays.  ‘Endless Endeavours’ was preceded by ‘Women, Peace and Equality’, and exhibitions in 2017 will include one to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and one on the 70th anniversary of Indian independence.  We are hoping that TWL’s Eleanor Rathbone archive of correspondence with Indian women between the two world wars will figure substantially here, given that movements for national independence do not always proceed hand in hand with movements for gender equality.

3

 

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

TRUSTEES’ REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31ST MARCH 2016 – continued

 

The Friends continue to be represented on LSE’s Archives and Special Collections Advisory Board, which gives us closer insight into the Library’s

joint objectives of research, outreach, and undergraduate teaching, to all of which TWL makes a significant contribution.  A new curatorial structure has been created for ‘Unique and Distinctive Collections’, to support their interpretation and use.  Gillian Murphy, whom many will have known since her time at Aldgate, is Curator for Equality, Rights and Citizenship.  Her responsibilities extend beyond TWL to the Hall-Carpenter archive, which is focussed on LGBT history and current concerns.  Inderbir Bhullar, another ‘old-timer’ from Aldgate, is Curator for Economics and Social Policy.  Daniel Payne is Curator for Politics and International Relations.

 

There were two Friends’ outings in late 2015. The first was to the Museum of London Docklands in September, where the curator of the exhibition ‘Soldiers and Suffragettes: the Photography of Christina Broom’ gave us a fascinating talk throwing light on the press and photographic industries of a century ago, as well as on contemporary perceptions of the suffrage movement.  The second was to the Foundling Museum, whose exhibition ‘Fallen Women’ contained much saddening and even horrifying material (an applicant for help whose father had urged suicide and recommended methods thereto), alongside fine and rarely-seen paintings and artefacts.  Our thanks to Executive member Jean Gooding for researching and organising these visits.

 

2016 has seen an innovation in events for members which has got off to a most promising start.  In February Diana Dollery opened a window on ‘What the Suffragettes Did Next’ with a stimulating talk on the British Commonwealth League (now Commonwealth Countries’ League).  We learned a great deal about the international outlook and concerns of newly enfranchised female citizens.  The talk was held in the early afternoon, in LSE’s Teaching and Activity Room on the lower ground floor.  Eleanor Payne organised our accommodation and the civilised touch of tea, coffee and biscuits.  In May Jane Grant, who has just published ‘In the Steps of Exceptional Women: the Story of the Fawcett Society 1866-2016’, gave a most thought-provoking talk on the ‘Pleasures and Pitfalls’ of writing the history of the women’s movement over two centuries.  Her observations on the historical difficulties of co-ordinating executive decisions and expert policy advice struck many chords with an audience which included a veteran of the 70s squatters and a historian of Catholic sisterhoods.

 

The success of these afternoon talks has encouraged us to prepare a programme of further events on this pattern – all, like the first two, utilising TWL materials.  Susan Cohen will be speaking on Eleanor Rathbone MP on

 

4

 

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

TRUSTEES’ REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31ST MARCH 2016 – continued

 

28 July, and Fabiana Barticioti on the Movement for the Ordination of Women and its archive on 7 September.  Future talks will be given by, amongst

others, David Doughan on non-militant suffragists, Jean McCrindle on Women against Pit Closures, and by Alex Hyde on her Vera Douie research programme.  We are extremely grateful to LSE, and to Eleanor Payne in particular, for generously providing the accommodation and tea, and seeing to the admin, of these events.

 

At the last AGM we announced that we had committed £10,000 to the cataloguing programme for the Movement for the Ordination of Women.  In the event, Fabiana Barticioti’s cataloguing schedule was revised, so that our funds were not needed; nor were they needed for the cataloguing of the Fawcett Papers, which is now in hand.  We are, therefore, in active discussion with Nicola Wright, Director of LSE Library, Anna Towlson, head of Archives and Martin Reid, head of Academic Services, over how best to direct our funding: choices need to be made between completion of archive catalogues and digitisation of print material; between targeting outreach groups, undergraduates, or the next cutting edge of scholarly research.  We will keep the membership informed as decisions are made and funds expended.

 

As Chair of the Executive, I am extremely grateful to the Friends’ officeholders and committee members: Jean Holder, Secretary; Lorna Hawthorne, Treasurer; Diana Dollery, Membership Secretary; Katharine Milcoy, manager of all things online; their wisdom, advice and efforts, combined with those of David Doughan, Jane Grant, Jean Gooding, Mary Joannou, Mary Kennedy, Susan Pares and Gill Sutherland, continue to sustain our organisation and its relationships with the staff of LSE.  We are heartened by the interest which Nicola Wright, Anna Towlson and Martin Reid take in the development of TWL, and look forward to continuing to make our own contribution in the coming year.

 

FINANCIAL REVIEW

 

For the year ended 31st March 2016 the trustees consider the financial position of the charity to be in line with expectations. The reserves at the end of the year were £33,163 (2015 £26,041). Reserves are held in order to fulfil the charities aims and objectives in the future.

 

STRUCTURE, GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT

 

The charity is governed by the Constitution adopted 18th January 1978 as amended 7th December 1978 and 3rd June 1993, 2nd June 1994 and 5th July 2001. The trustees named on page 1 have served throughout the year with the

5

 

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

TRUSTEES’ REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31ST MARCH 2016 – continued

 

exception of Dr Joannou who was appointed in July 2015.  Appointment of trustees is governed by the Trust Deed of the charity.  The Board of Trustees

is authorised to appoint new trustees to fill vacancies arising through resignation or death of an existing trustee.

 

RISK REVIEW

 

The trustees conduct periodic reviews of the major risks to which the charity is exposed and systems and procedures to manage those risks identified are implemented so as to minimise any potential impact on the charity should any of those risks materialise.

 

STATEMENT OF TRUSTEES’ RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Law applicable to charities in England and Wales requires the trustees to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the charity’s financial activities during the year and of its financial position at the end of the year.  In preparing those financial statements, the trustees are required to:

 

a)    select suitable accounting policies and apply them consistently;

b)    make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;

c)    state whether applicable accounting standards and statements of recommended practice have been followed, subject to any departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements;

d)    prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the charity will continue in operation.

 

The trustees are responsible for keeping accounting records which disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the charity and enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Charities Act 1993.  They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the charity and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.

 

APPROVAL

 

This report was approved by the trustees on                     and signed on their behalf.

 

 

Lorna Hawthorne

Trustee

6

 

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

 

REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT EXAMINER TO THE TRUSTEES

 

I report on the accounts of the Trust for the period ended 31st March 2016 which are set out on pages 8 to 11.

 

RESPECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES OF TRUSTEES AND EXAMINER

 

As the charity’s trustees you are responsible for the preparation of the financial statements. The charity’s trustees consider that an audit is not required for this year under section 144 of the Charities Act 2011 (the 2011 Act) and that an independent examination is needed. It is my responsibility to:

  • examine the accounts under section 145 of the Charities Act
  • to follow the procedures laid down in the general directions given by the Charity Commission (under section 145(5)(b) of the Charities Act)
  • To state whether particular matters have come to my attention.

 

BASIS OF THE INDEPENDENT EXAMINER’S STATEMENT

My examination was carried out in accordance with the general Directions given by the Charity Commission.

An examination includes a review of the accounting records kept by the charity and a comparison of the accounts presented with those records. It also includes consideration of any unusual items or disclosures in the accounts, and seeking explanations from the trustees concerning such matters. The procedures undertaken do not provide all the evidence that would be required in an audit, and consequently no opinion is given as to whether the accounts present a ‘true and fair’ view and the report is limited to those matters set out in the statement below.

 

INDEPENDENT EXAMINER’S STATEMENT

In connection with my examination, no matter has come to my attention which gives me reasonable cause to believe that in any material respect the requirements to keep accounting records in accordance with section 130 of the Charities Act, to prepare accounts which accord with the accounting records and comply with the accounting requirements of the Charities Act have not been met, or to which, in my opinion, attention should be drawn in order to enable a proper understanding of the accounts to be reached.

 

 

 

Roger P B Storey FCMA, FAIA

26 Cherry Orchard Road, Bromley, Kent, BR2 8NE

 

Date:

7

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

 

STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL ACTIVITIES FOR THE

YEAR ENDED 31ST MARCH 2016

 

 

2016

2015

Unrestricted

Funds

Restricted

Funds

Total

Funds

Total

Funds

Notes

£

£

£

£

 
INCOMING RESOURCES
 Donations and subscriptions

6,782

6,890

6,827

 Gift aid

1,900

1,900

1,138

0

Total Incoming Resources

8,681

8,789

7,965

RESOURCES EXPENDED
Charitable expenditure
  Operating costs

1,439

0

1,547

914

  Management and administration

120

0

120

60

Total Resources Expended

2

1,559

0

1,667

974

NET MOVEMENT IN FUNDS FOR THE YEAR

 

7,122

 

0

 

7,122

 

      6,991

RESERVES BROUGHT FORWARD

26,041

0

26,041

19,050

RESERVES CARRIED FORWARD

33,163

0

33,163

26,041

 

The notes form part of these financial statements

 

Statement of total recognised gains and losses

 

The charity does not have any gains and losses other than the Income and Expenditure for the period to report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

 

BALANCE SHEET AS AT 31ST MARCH 2016

 

2016

2015

Notes

£

£

Current assets

 Cash at bank and in hand

33,283

26,276

Creditors: amounts falling

due within one year

(120)

(235)

 

Net current assets

 

33,163

26,041

NET ASSETS

 

33,163

26,041

RESERVES

 Unrestricted funds

 

33,163

26,041

 

 

33,163

26,041

 

 

Approved by the trustees on                                    and signed on its behalf:

 

 

 

 

 

Lorna Hawthorne

Trustee

 

 

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

 

NOTES TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE

YEAR ENDED 31ST MARCH 2016

 

1 Accounting Policies
1.1 Basis of Preparation of Financial Statements
These accounts have been prepared on the basis of historic cost in accordance with Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP 2005) and the Charities Act 2011.

1.2Recognition of Incoming Resources   These are included in the Statement of Financial Activities (SoFA) when the charity becomes entitled to the resources; the trustees are virtually certain they will receive the resources, and when the monetary value can be measured with sufficient reliability.

Investment income: this is included in the accounts when receivable.  1.3Resources Expended   Resources expended are recognised in the period in which they are incurred. Resources expended include attributable VAT which cannot be recovered.    1.4Unrestricted funds can be used in accordance with the charitable objects at the discretion of the trustees; restricted funds are subject to restrictions imposed by the donor.

10

FRIENDS OF THE WOMEN`S LIBRARY

 

NOTES TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE

YEAR ENDED 31ST MARCH 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016

 

2015

 

£

£

2 Analysis or resources expended
  Direct Charitable Costs
 
   Annual General Meeting Costs

246

96

   Cost Of Generating Funds

379

232

   Other Charity Expenditure

116

391

   Website and Advertising Expenses

698

195

 
 

1,439

        914

 
  Governance costs
  Independent Examiner’s Fee

120

60

 

120

60

 
  TOTAL EXPENDITURE

  1,559

  974

   
3 Trustees remuneration and related parties transactions
   
  None of the trustees received any remuneration during the year.

No trustee or other person related to the charity had any personal interest in any contract or transaction entered into by the charity during the year (2015– Nil).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Richard Pankhurst OBE  1927 – 2017

Ethiopia bids farewell to its greatest friend  - click below to learn more

NewsletterFeb2017[1]

Myra Sadd-Brown

IMG_0022

Diana Dollery recently gave an excellent talk to the Friends of the Women’s Library about her grandmother Myra Sadd-Brown, who was a member of the militant Women’s Social and Political Union.  Diana’s talk entitled ‘my jailbird grandmother’ was a huge success, it drew upon her grandmother’s letters while she was serving a sentence in Holloway prison in 1912 when she went on hunger strike and was forcibly fed.  Her letters home provided an account of what life was like for suffragettes in Holloway prison. Her Suffragette medal awarded for having been force fed in Holloway prison is now in the collections of the Melbourne Museum and is currently on display until 31st March as part of their Women’s History Month celebrations.  IMG_0023To find out more go to: 

https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/1208261

https://museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/whats-on/suffragette-medal/

Suffragette Medal Display, March 2017, 2

More women commemorated in stained glass

image005There is an attractive, modern window in Guildford Cathedral, Surrey, celebrating the first 60 years of Soroptimist International, a women’s organisation dedicated to the advancement of the status of women and to promoting the human rights of women and children internationally, nationally and locally. The window was designed by Lawrence Lee.

The central Soroptimist symbol was designed by Anita Houts Thompson of the USA, in 1928.  It seems partly derived from suffrage propaganda (see The Appeal of Womanhood poster designed by Louise Jacobs of the Suffrage Atalier, 1912, page 214, The Spectacle of Women by Lisa Tickner). Laurel leaves symbolise achievement and oak leaves, strength. Womanhood, liberated from restrictive tight-lacing, wears a Grecian gym-slip, ready for action (or eurythmics). She reaches up to accept responsibility for the greatest and highest good. Behind Womanhood radiates the New Dawn for Women’s Rights (see New Dawn Women by V. Irene Cockroft; for book order details email: newdawnbooks@virginmedia.com.

Suffragettes Mary Allen (Commandant of the pioneer First World War, Women’s Auxiliary Police Service) and ‘General’ Flora Drummond were early presidents of SI clubs in the SI Great Britain and Ireland federation. Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett, president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, was an honorary member of the SI Greater London club.

The presidential insignia made by suffrage art-enameller Ernestine Mills for the SI London Mayfair club, is displayed in the Victoria & Albert Museum jewellery collection, reference M.28:1, 2-2010. The historic chain on which names of presidents are engraved, is in store.

Photograph © V. Irene Cockroft

Women in stained glass at Crown Court Presbyterian Church 

image006Just a short walk away from the LSE Library, in Covent Garden, is one of London’s best-kept-secret churches. The entrance door to Crown Court Church of Scotland, next to the Fortune Theatres in Russell Street, is worth seeking out. As the “Kirk of the Crown of Scotland”, it is the longest-established Presbyterian church south of the Scottish border, dating from 1711 (though the present building dates from 1909).

Funding for re-building was raised by the indomitable Lady Frances Balfour (incidentally president of the London Society for Women’s Suffrage among other commitments). The architect was her husband Eustace, who worked wonders with a severely restricted site. The church’s unique stained glass includes a window of women from the Bible, and a window depicting Lady Frances Balfour and her sister Lady Victoria Campbell.

Friends member Dr Joan Huffman of Macon, USA, will be speaking to us about her forthcoming biography of Lady Frances in September.

Photograph © David Cockroft

 Crown Court Church address and contact details:

Russell Street
Covent Garden
London WC2B 5EZ

Telephone: 020 7836 5643

Email: office@crowncourtchurch.org.uk

Website: www.crowncourtchurch.org.uk

© V. Irene Cockroft, 26 Feb 2017

 

 

CHRISTIAN AND JEWISH WOMEN IN BRITAIN, 1880 -1940

LSummers_9783319421490_Cover (2)iving with Difference

Anne Summers

This book offers an entirely new contribution to the history of multiculturalism in Britain, 1880-1940. It shows how friendship and co-operation between Christian and Jewish women changed lives and, as the Second World War approached, actually saved them. The networks and relationships explored include the thousand-plus women from every district in Manchester who combined to send a letter of sympathy to the Frenchwoman at the heart of the Dreyfus Affair; the religious leagues for women’s suffrage who initiated the first interfaith campaigning movement in British history; the collaborations, often problematic, on refugee relief in the 1930s; the close ties between the founder of Liberal Judaism in Britain, and the wife of the leader of the Labour Party, between the wealthy leader of the Zionist women’s movement and a passionate socialist woman MP. A great variety of sources are thoughtfully interrogated, and concluding remarks address some of the social concerns of the present century.

 

 

Recent Visit to the Christina Broom Exhibition

On 28 September, Friends paid a group visit to the Museum of London at Docklands to see a remarkable exhibition of work by the pioneer female press photographer Christina Broom (1863-1939).  Our visit included a fascinating lecture from the Curator, Anna Sparham, about Broom’s unusual career, and about the emergence of new techniques of producing and marketing photography at the turn of the 20th century.  The exhibition was titled ‘Soldiers and Suffragettes’.  Broom obtained remarkably close access to military quarters in London, and it was impossible not to be touched by the intimacy and directness of her group portraits of servicemen, especially those made during World War I.  However, the suffrage photographs (the title notwithstanding, the constitutional movement also featured here) which were taken between 1908 and 1913 were inevitably the most moving and interesting for us.  We saw many familiar and unfamiliar faces, pictured at indoor and outdoor meetings,in pageants, processions, drum and fife bands, wearing historical costume: these were all wonderfully vivid images, hitherto largely unseen.  Now that the exhibition is closed, we can only recommend that Friends purchase the fully illustrated catalogue from the Museum of London as a Christmas present for themselves.

The Women’s National Memorial at York Minster.

Yes, cathedrals, and cathedral windows, can tell us a lot about women and their history.

At Bristol, as the notes below show us, the windows give a vivid, pictorial account of women’s civilian war work.  In York Minster, by contrast, the Five Sisters window that fills the end of the minster’s north transept with its grisaille glass, invites us to ponder rather than read a story.  The window forms a memorial to women who died in the First World War.  The names of over 1,500 are recorded on the panels of a screen to the side-chapel of St Nicholas, also in the transept. The window is very ancient, dating from the mid-thirteenth century; the panels were installed ninety years ago.  There are no images and little colour, only the greenish-grey tones of the glass and the gleam of polished and gilded oak. This almost abstract statement of loss and absence leaves a very powerful impression.Window 2

The creation of this memorial is intriguing, combining as it does touches of mysticism with clear-sighted planning. The initiative came from a woman named Helen Little, who lived in York.  Searching for a way to bring into being the national memorial she longed to see raised to the women who had died, she conceived the idea of a restoration of the Five Sisters window in a dream, or vision, of her two little sisters, long dead, as they stood in the north transept.  This vision came to her in the autumn of 1922 and continued to guide her interpretation of the memorial. The Dean and Chapter of York Minster gave their backing.  The practical aspects of fundraising were then put in the hands of Mrs Almyra Gray, also of York, a JP and past president of the National Council of Women.

The restoration of the Five Sisters window formed part of a comprehensive post-war restoration of the minster’s glass.  The sum required for this particular project was £3,000.  In the first instance Mrs Gray proposed a direct approach to every woman in Yorkshire, who would be invited to donate and raise further funds.  Princess Mary, the daughter of George V and Queen Mary, gave her patronage to the scheme and contributed £50. The appeal took off when women living in other parts of Britain and, further afield, in the British Dominions—the Commonwealth of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa—requested that they too might be allowed to donate to the fund.  Within nine weeks of its launch in February 1923, the appeal had produced £3,555, enough to cover the restoration of the window and to permit the erection of a screen and memorial panels.

 

From May 1923, the window’s sixty-five panels were progressively removed to the minster’s workshops.  There the grisaille glass of which they were largely formed was restored and re-leaded.  (Grisaille was produced through painting panels of clear or white or silvery-grey glass with designs, often geometric or of foliage, in black or brown pigment.  The pieces were re-fired, then held together with lead rods to form an intricate whole.  The resulting effect is a pearly or grey tone.)  Construction of the screen and twelve commemorative panels and collection of the names to be recorded were put in hand.  On the panels, military ranks mingle with civilian organisations, and the names of British women with those of women from the Dominions.  Well over half of the women had been active as nurses, medical and hospital workers and doctors. Women members of all three branches of the armed forces appear.  Women munition workers are recorded in large numbers, accompanied by nearly fifty stewardesses who had served in the Mercantile Marine.  A further panel lists women from seven small civilian organisations, some engaged in relief work.Screen

Finally, on 24 June 1925, the restored window was unveiled by the Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth, wife of George VI) and the screen dedicated.  The memorial remembers the women who died, but also celebrates an initiative conceived and funded by women for other women.

 

 

 

 

 

There are many good reasons for visiting the Cathedrals of this country, but one might not think of them as places for exploring and celebrating modern women’s history.  On a recent visit to Bristol, I realised how mistaken I had been.  On entering the Cathedral, you are almost literally dazzled by gorgeous modern stained glass windows celebrating women’s and men’s war work.

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Arnold Wathen Robinson (1888-1955), a local artist of great distinction, executed four windows commemorating civilian services in Bristol during World War II, when the city suffered severe bombardment.  The window nearest the entrance is dedicated to the St John Ambulance and Nursing Services, showing a St John stretcher-bearer, a matron at her medicine cabinet and a nurse with a sick child.  The next window is dedicated to the British Red Cross and the Fire Service, and includes a Red Cross stretcher-bearer and a nurse with trolley; both a firewoman and a fireman are shown for the Fire Service.  Next to them is a depiction of the Wardens’ Service – a male air-raid warden with axe, stirrup pump and bell and a female warden with rattle – alongside two officers, male and female, of the Bristol Police.  The fourth window shows on one side two Home Guardsmen, and on the other the Women’s Voluntary Service, illustrated by a WVS telephonist and a woman caring for a small girl clutching her teddy bear.

WVS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking round the Cathedral I saw a memorial to an earlier representative of the female tradition of voluntary work.

Mary Clifford (1842-1919) is a more recognizably modern figure than one might guess from the rather 18th-century headgear she is wearing in this relief portrait.  One of a cohort of late 19th-century women who stood for election as Guardians of the Poor, she was also involved at an early stage with the National Union of Women Workers (which became the National Council of Women) and served a term as its President in 1904-5.  A devout Christian, she is said to have ‘feared the secular spirit of the foreign Women’s Unions’, but this did not prevent her representing Britain at the International Council of Women in Berlin in 1904 and speaking on the contemporary-sounding topic of ‘The Unmarried Mother and her Child’.  She was also a staunch Anglican, saying of a meeting concerning an NUWW conference in 1890: ‘the tone was on the whole, one felt, rather Churchy, and I think it’s very sweet of the Non. Cons. [sic] to endure with entire meekness the unconscious attitude of superiority that Church people take.  At the same time, it seemed to be a proof that they recognised the value of our ways and our stand’.No surprise, perhaps, to find such a loyal churchwoman commemorated in the Cathedral where she must often have attended divine service. Mary Clifford

BustBut the third commemoration which I found on my visit was of a member of a distinguished family of Unitarians.  Mary Carpenter (1807-77) was a passionate social and educational reformer, who pioneered special provision outside adult prisons for children and adolescents who fell foul of the law.

The ‘Red House’ where she offered residence and training to girls can still be visited in Central Bristol.  Her interest in social reform in India is also mentioned on her memorial plaque.  Clearly, her influence extended far beyond the circles in which she grew up; and her fellow-citizens in Bristol took pride in her achievements ‘in this City and Realm’.

Mary Carpenter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My question to my readers is this: have I been walking round other Cathedrals with my eyes closed?  Or is Bristol exceptional in the notice in takes of women’s work?

In Search of Muriel Carew Hunt

In 1941 Newnham College, Cambridge received a bequest of funds to create a memorial in stained glass to ‘the noble work done by women in the Great War’. The bequest came in fulfilment of the will of Miss Muriel Ada Sneyd Carew Hunt, made in 1931.  The money was eventually used to commission a series of four sculptures in glass and steel, representing the Four Seasons, from the distinguished sculptor, Geoffrey Clarke. His description of the works appears below. They are displayed in the glass corridor which connects Strachey and Pfeiffer Buildings in Newnham College.

Newnham College would like very much to know more about this benefactor. If you are able to help, please contact the College Archivist, Anne Thomson at Newnham College, Cambridge CB3 9DF or e-mail: archives@newn.cam.ac.uk

Work by Muriel Carew HuntMiss Carew Hunt was not an alumna of the College and according to her brother, her only surviving close relative, had no connection of any kind to Newnham. One hypothesis is that she knew of and shared the commitment of the College and its students to the work of Dr Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospital Units. The Units, who worked predominantly on the Eastern Front, were supported with funds and supplies throughout the War by the students of Newnham and Girton; and a number of them went to work in various capacities for the Units after completing their courses. The remainder of Miss Carew Hunt’s estate was bequeathed to two London hospitals.

Work by Muriel Carew HuntThe sculptures continue to make a powerful impact. They have perhaps added resonance because they are one of only two examples of twentieth century glass in Cambridge colleges; and because in these years we mark the centenary of the Great War.

 

The Four Seasons – an allegory

Geoffrey Clarke ARCA

Each season is represented by a plant-like form in various stages of development. The plant symbolises man. The horizontal represents the surface of the earth in each instance. The beginning is really in winter. The young shoot, on the right, is appearing.

Spring

Upward movement of young plant form. The root is undeveloped.

Summer

Plant opens revealing bloom. The sun is high. Root develops.

Autumn

Plant physically past its prime. Seed drops. Identity of root almost complete.

Winter

Plant dies, Root life continues now fully developed, more obviously a cross, symbolising man’s soul.

Work by Muriel Carew Hunt Work by Muriel Carew Hunt