About

After graduating in history and politics, I worked for some years for Cambridge University Press and then J.M. Dent before combining work as a free-lance copy editor with caring for my three children.

I began selling second-hand books and ephemera by and about women in 1984. Then this area was regarded by the trade as of little consequence. However, over time,  interest in women’s – and family – history has grown and been reflected in an awareness of the importance of primary source material – books and ephemera – in composing a picture of women’s lives in the past.

Intrigued by the material that was passing through my hands, I have, over the last 20 years or so researched and written several books. The first, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide  (Routledge 1999) grew out of the necessity of researching items connected with the suffrage movement in order to be able to catalogue them for sale accurately. ‘What’, I thought, ‘is needed is a compendium containing full information on the people and societies involved.’  A publisher’s editor to whom I mentioned the idea agreed – and I set to work. The Reference Guide  was followed by The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a regional survey, published by Routledge in 2005, which explains how – from 1866 -the suffrage movement developed throughout the British Isles.

In between these two books I wrote Enterprising Women: the Garretts and their circle, published by Francis Boutle in 2002. In this I discuss the lifetime’s work of a group of efficient, highly-motivated women who transformed women’s lives in Britain in the last quarter of the 19th century. The work of the Garretts and their circle opened for women entry to areas of work and study from which they had hitherto been barred – medicine, education,  and interior and landscape design – as well as, at the same time, campaigning for the vote. In 2009-11 I had the pleasure of helping to create the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Gallery, generously funded by UNISON,  in what was the ground floor of the former Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, now part of the UNISON Centre at 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY.

Over the years I have contributed to various radio – and television – programmes and given many talks – at academic conferences, to schools and to local history groups – on a range of topics associated with my researches.

  1. #1 by Josie Sutcliffe on August 2, 2012 - 9:58 am

    I have just discovered your site and I’m really excited by it! I’m currently researching the 1913 Pilgrimage – in particular the Land’s End to Hyde Park route in order to celebrate the centenary of this event next year. Do you have any information about this part of the route and the women who took part?
    Josie

    • #2 by womanandhersphere on August 3, 2012 - 2:33 pm

      Josie ~ am afraid I don’t have any particular information about the Land’s End Pilgrimage and don’t know of any papers relating specifically to that route. I did write a piece about the Pilgrimage in general in The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide – but I imagine your best bet – and probably what you are doing – is to follow the women’s progress in the pages of The Common Cause.

    • #3 by redflagwalks on July 8, 2013 - 8:31 am

      Hi, I have also done some research recently on the Women’s Ppilgrimage on the leg from Manchester to Macclesfield. I found some accounts in the Manchester Guardian. You could also try the on-line british Newsaper archive. Michael Herbert, redflagwalks@gmail.com.

  2. #4 by Josie on August 5, 2012 - 3:53 pm

    OK, thank you. I have researched in The Common Cause and Votes For Women with not much luck but will continue to work on it.. J

  3. #5 by gy williams, PhD on January 27, 2013 - 1:06 pm

    I found out about your blog just a few months ago, and honestly I look forward to your email posts and reading through your entire site.

    Someone teaching an Intro course in Women’s Studies asked for suggestions on blogs and I made them aware of yours.

    Thanks for your work.

    • #6 by womanandhersphere on January 27, 2013 - 4:52 pm

      Very many thanks for your kind words. I really appreciate your interest – will spur me on to keep up the work! In fact there seems to be a never-ending array of topics that catch my eye – and it’s a pleasure to have somewhere to post them.

  4. #7 by Zoe on March 6, 2013 - 2:03 pm

    Hello, I am a PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London and I was wondering if I could email you with a few questions about the Garrett’s? Zoe

  5. #8 by Estelle Beesley on May 27, 2013 - 11:38 am

    I walched the programme Secret of a Suffragette last night and I think I have made a link to how she did what she did on that horrific day in 1913. While she was in jail she took a desperate act which was throwing herself down some stairs and causing her to crack her skull and bruising her ribs. I think she could have damaged her brain and this caused her to loose it a bit and going a bit mad and not thinking of the obvious result of what could happen! Please reply if my conclusion could be correct.

    Estelle Beesley, aged 10 years and 361 days.

    • #9 by womanandhersphere on May 27, 2013 - 1:15 pm

      Dear Estelle

      I imagine we would all agree that being in prison, on hunger strike and forcibly fed is unlikely to be good for anybody. If this is a subject that interests you, do have a look at the Amnesty International website.

      And, happy birthday – you’re clearly counting the days!

      Elizabeth

  6. #10 by redflagwalks on July 8, 2013 - 8:34 am

    Iam doing two women’s history walks this weekend in Manchester. more information http://redflagwalks.wordpress.com

  7. #11 by Rod Walbridge on May 7, 2016 - 6:24 am

    The photo of what you think is Emily Davidson being attended by policeman on the race track is in fact Harrold Hewwit who actually did a copy cat protest about 2 weeks after Emily. You can clearly see a mans blazer type jacket, belt and the top of his trousers.

  1. “Book” Review 3: A Woman and Her Sphere. Also Her Collectibles | JohannaWriter
  2. An Eye Witness Account of Emily Wilding Davison’s Funeral Procession, June 1913 : Kate Willoughby

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