Leigh & District

Women in History

Facilitator:Barbara Joyce 07516 225608
Venue & time:Leigh Miners10.30am - 12.30pm3rd Tuesday in month
repeated at1pm - 3pmon the same day

January 2022

Our meeting on the 17th January (2nd Tuesday in the month) went ahead and was well attended and, as we took COVID precautions, it felt safe. So the February meeting should go ahead as planned. We are looking at domestic service and members are invited to bring a small price of research/observation. This usually takes up 10 minutes or less per contributor and some people bring relevant pictures or documents. It is not expected that all members bring information (indeed we could not manage to hear from everybody in the time we have). But all contributions are welcome and you do not have to be an experenced presenter.

However if you do want to think about the topic in advance it may be that the following suggestions may give you inspiration,

  • Perhaps your mother or a more distant ancestor was in service and you could bring information about her.
  • Was being in service represented accurately in Downton Abbey etc - or was the experience different in aristocratic homes compared to more modest placements?
  • What were the various grades of servants expected to do? Was the work of male servants different to that of females?
  • Were you an au pair - what was that like?
  • Why did domestic service die out in private homes?

I am sure you can think of many more angles and it will be interesting to find out what we come up with.

Meanwhile the presentation by Kath on the victims of Jack the Ripper was very interesting. Some of these women had been in domestic service, and the overall finding was that the women were not simply victims, but people with interesting back stories who had fallen on hard times in a society that did not offer many safety nets. The presentation provoked a lot of discussion and food for thought

The 'servants' meeting is on Tuesday 15th February at 10.30 with a repeated session at 1pm. No need to book and non members are welcome to attend to 'give it a try' before joining.

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January 2022

Dear Member and potential member

As you will be aware we had to cancel our December 2021 meeting. The omicron virus had taken hold and the advice was to only attend vital social events in order to ensure you could meet up with family and friends over Christmas.

Things are still up in the air but it is hoped that we will press ahead with our January meeting. This will be in the form of a presentation by Kath - one of our members. It takes a different view of the Jack the Ripper story, as instead of searching for the perpetrator it looks at his known victims.

The meeting will be held on TUESDAY JANUARY 18th at 10.30 repeated 1pm at the Miners. We are able to socially distance and ventilate the room and face coverings are viable when the topic is in the form of a presentation. No need to book but check this site before you attend, as, if the Government advice changes, we may have to defer the meeting.

Meanwhile Happy New Year and fingers crossed that this may be the year we learn to live with the virus.

18.01.22 The Canonical Five – The Ripper Victims- presentation
15.02.22 Servants - discussion
15.03.22 Victorian Fasting Girls – presentation
19.04.22 Archaeologists - discussion
17.05.22 Film directors and Producers - discussion
21.06.22 The Pendle Witches – presentation
19.07.22 Politicians - discussion
16.08.22 Motherhood – presentation
20.09.22 Photographers – discussion
18.10.22 Coercion and Control – presentation
15.11.22 Women at work – discussion
20.12.22 Christmas – topic to be arranged

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November 2021

A good meeting today when the topic was 'housework'. We looked at why it was women who became responsible for organising the home and providing the ability for men and adult children to pursue work outside. However as more women do work and the gender pay gap has decreased the unpaid work gap has not really reduced in the pat 40 years. We looked at possible reasons for this.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 21st December and we will look at Christmas in the past. You are welcome to attend either morning or afternoon - 10.30 or 1pm and no need to book.

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Update on 11th October

Apologies to any member who was planning to attend on the 19th October but we have been unable to use the planned room at The Miners as it has been booked for a funeral. So our next meeting will be on the 16th November when our topic will be 'Housework'. We will look at the history of housework and why the industrial revolution resulted in this task becoming the province of women. We will look at how things may be turning round in the face of increased employment for women combined with improved earning power.

We will meet at 10.30 or 1pm. No need to book and all new members are welcome

Barbara Joyce

The October meeting will take place on Tuesday the 19th and the topic will be a presentation about the phenomenon of 'Victorian fasting girls'. There was a spate of publicised cases whereby girls claimed to have not eaten or drunk anything for long periods of time. The most famous was The Welsh fasting girl but we had a local example in Culcheth. Join us at either 10.30 or at 1pm for the repeat. No need to book and new members welcome.

The meeting on 21st September looked at Wallis Simpson and her role in the abdication of Edward VIII. The view of this event has been revised recently and it is possible to see the impossible situation presented to Mrs Simpson who was subject to all kinds of pressure by Edward VIII to marry him. An interesting topic and a well attended meeting.

Meanwhile (Covid allowing) the calendar for the next year is below. Please contact me if you would like to give a presentation on any relevant topic and I can easily change the timetable.

Women in History

18.01.22 The Canonical Five – The Ripper Victims- presentation
15.02.22 Servants - discussion
15.03.22 Victorian Fasting Girls – presentation
19.04.22 Archaeologists - discussion
17.05.22 Film directors and Producers - discussion
21.06.22 The Pendle Witches – presentation
19.07.22 Politicians - discussion
16.08.22 Motherhood – presentation
20.09.22 Photographers – discussion
18.10.22 Coercion and Control – presentation
15.11.22 Women at work – discussion
20.12.22 Christmas – topic to be arranged

Barbara Joyce

Archive

The meeting on the 17th August was very well attended and although the topic was difficult I think we all learnt a lot and perhaps understand some of the issues a little better. It is a particularly pertinent subject on a day when the Taliban have taken power in Afghanistan.

Slightly less heavy next month when we will be looking at Wallis Simpson and the role she played in the abdication crisis. I feel that it is safer to hold presentations at present until such time as we safe not to social distance. However I am hoping that in the new year we can go back to the old format of people bringing research on a topic. Although this will be interspersed with the occasional presentation.

If you would like to come to the Wallis Simpson meeting it is on TUESDAY 21st SEPTEMBER at 10.30 in the morning or repeated at 1pm on the same day. No need to book. Men welcome as are new members.

Barbara Joyce

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FURTHER UPDATE ABOUT OUR MEETING ON 17th AUGUST

We have now been able to secure a room for both the morning and afternoon session. So the 10.30 morning session will be repeated at 1pm at The Miners. No need to book - just bring yourself along.

Update August 2021

STOP PRESS

As we are unable to secure the room at The Miners the meeting on Tuesday 17th August in the AFTERNOON has had to be cancelled. However the 10.30 meeting is still on so I hope members can make it to that session. Apologies for the short notice.

update July 2021

We are starting up again (unless something unexpected happens) on Tuesday 17th August 2021. The two meetings are now at 10.30 and repeated on the same day at 1pm. You can attend either session and there is no need to book. Until things settle down the meetings will take the form of presentations and the first one looks at the three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green who left home to join the Islamic State in Syria and became Jihadi Brides. Why did they decide to take this drastic step that ultimately resulted in two young girls losing their lives and the third being stripped of her British citizenship? Who was responsible for radicalising them? Why did girls who were highly intelligent and ambitious turn against the west? How did the security service handle the case?

I appreciate that many members will not want to attend meetings indoors until they have more confidence that infection numbers are decreasing and vaccinations have been taken up by all those eligible. However if you decide to come I think it will be a thought provoking session.

Barbara

Archive

Updated April 2021

The lockdown restrictions are easing slightly and fingers crossed we may have some positive news by June.

I have had positive feedback from group members concerning the Gresham on line talks entitled Evil Women. The talks re recorded so you can watch them any time you like and no need to book. There are thousands of lectures available delivered by famous academics for 'ordinary' people. Recommended if you have an hour to spare.

Hope to have some good news soon and meanwhile stay as positive as possible in these challenging times.

Barbara

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Update January 2021

Well we went from Tier 3 to full lockdown number 3 just after Christmas. So we are restricted even further.

However the vaccine is being rolled out and it appears that the time table is working well so some of our members will hopefully have received the first inoculation and many more will have been in receipt of it by the spring.

Meanwhile I did send out some information re Corsets and was delighted to send out some information by one of our members (Janet) about the history of ballroom dancing. If any member has a topic that they could send me for the future I would be grateful.

I am sure we will be able to resume our meetings at some point later this year - fingers crossed.

Barbara

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Update December 2020

From full lockdown to Tier 3 restrictions which means no face to face meetings for the foreseeable future. However, already some of our over 80 year old members have received part 1 of the Pfizer/Biontec vaccine, so it will not be long before those of us who choose to take the vaccine can meet up safely again.

Meanwhile, on what would have been our Christmas meeting, I sent out a version of the presentation that we would have been looking at. This was on knickers/pants/drawers or whatever. It drew a good response and will likely be seen again next Christmas. I did think that if we had been able to watch it in a 'real' group it would have created a lot of laughter.

I will probably send out a 'corset' presentation in January - just to make us women grateful that we are no longer obliged to wear these garments.

Meanwhile let's try to survive the COVID Christmas - who knows it may make us realise that we can celebrate in a more low key and less stressful way. Women, in particular, may benefit. Who knows? Happy Christmas and all the very best for 2021.

Barbara

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Update November 2020

In normal times we would have been preparing for our Christmas Meeting and I had planned to do a humorous(?)presentation on underwear - and in particular pants/knickers/drawers/bloomers or whatever.

I will send a version of this presentation out in the course of the month to members on e mail. Not the same I know but needs must.

I sent some information about mourning clothes a week or two ago and yesterday I was listening on the Radio to a book about the 'Unknown Warrior' and this does relate to the change in mourning which was an inevitable consequence of the loss of life in the 1914- 1918 war.

We are, of course, on full lockdown until 2nd December but the vaccine may be just around the corner hopefully.

We now have a female vice president of the US (a future topic may lurk here). Progress indeed and she looks like she will be a feisty character.

Stay safe and as cheerful as possible under these trying circumstances

Update October 2020

As we hover between being placed in Tier 3 or following the example of Wales and going for a short lockdown, the year draws on.

Our October topic was to have been 'dancers' and another quiz may encourage us to spend an hour or two looking up the answers and seeing these fantastic people in action via You Tube.

Next month - November - was to have been a presentation by Kath on females who were transported to Tasmania. Another one to save for next year.

This will end and I am hoping it will be sooner rather than later .

Barbara

Update September 2020

The rule of six is upon us and this augurs badly for U3A meetings and we have to postpone our meeting yet again.

I have sent a quiz to members which has 'Women' as the topic. If anybody reading this would like a go please contact me by e mail and I will send it.

The October topic would have been 'Dancers' so I will try to think of something interesting to send out to members.

Meanwhile I have picked up on the latest advice - it is to wear your mask, watch your distance, wash your hands. Above all I hope you are managing to stay busy and that this acts as a distraction from all the gloom.

Barbara

Update August 2020

Still no news and unless we arrange an illegal rave it doesn't seem like we can meet any time soon.

Meanwhile the topic for September would have been gender in advertising so we have been looking at ads over the internet. Some of these are shockers and we have been looking at the regulations that were recently imposed by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) to tackle the worst offenders. The ASA web site is very good and worth a look.

Any update from the Miners and I will be in touch but meanwhile I hope you can keep active and not too despondent - it will pass

Archive

Update July 2020

We still don't seem to be much closer to getting back into the Miners and holding our meetings. However things are easing up a little and hopefully we should (in the words of the Prime Minister) be over the worst by Christmas. However as the last PM to believe this was Asquith during the First World War let us all hope this state of semi lock-down doesn't carry on for another 4 years!

It would have been 'Women and Religion' had we been able to hold our July meeting. Another topic for the back burner.

No meeting planned in any case for August and the September topic was to be Gender in Advertising.

Meanwhile I hope everybody is well (or at least as well as can be expected under the circumstances). Barbara

Archive
Update June 2020

The June meeting (had we been free to move out of our social bubble) was to have been a presentation on Women in Art. It's another presentation to be stored away until we are able to meet safely.

Meanwhile I have been collecting up and sending out the short biographies from Encyclopedia Britannica on interesting women who have been born on the day or died on the day. If you would like the information direct from the horses mouth just bring up the Encyclopedia Britannica and request the daily posting. It's free and only advertises themselves and so is not oppressive. They send it daily with biographies, events that happened on the day etc. I like it and will likely still read it post lock down.

July meeting would have been 'Women in Religion' - which I think would have been interesting.

Meanwhile hope everyone is surviving and looking forward to some normality as soon as possible

Update May 2020

Oh dear - still in lockdown and I for one am tearing my hair out (not really as it will be hard enough for the hairdresser to deal with the shaggy dog look when she re-opens let alone torn out roots). We missed the March presentation which was about coercion and control in relationships. The April meeting was to be Oscar and BAFTA winners and May would have been 'Housework'. You have probably had enough of cleaning but it may have been a good topic.

Let us hope we find a safe way of meeting when the Miners re-opens and we are allowed out.

Meanwhile please keep in touch and don't forget U3A will be here when all this is over.

Barbara
UPDATE March 15th

The pandemic and the need for isolation has meant that we have had to cancel all our U3A meetings and there is no clear idea about when we can resume.

The topic which was planned for March is important and I am hoping that we can juggle the planned calendar around to ensure we have the presentation when we return following our isolation.

Can't wait to get back to normal and please don't forget about our group.

Look after yourselves and your families

Barbara

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Our March meeting is on 16th March repeated on the 17th. It will take the form of a presentation and the topic is 'Coercion and Control'. The laws around domestic violence were recently added to and now include offences of control and coercion. In other words abuse is not simply physical but can also be things like preventing ones partner from going out, controlling spending, isolating a partner from their family etc. It is an important issue and one we should know about - not just for ourselves but for people who may be unwitting victims of illegal behaviour. Please join us at either session. No need to book and the presentation starts at 1pm on both days.

'Sisters' was our February topic and we had a great range of research from The Williams sisters to the Andrews sisters. Two members told us about their own relatives and provided photographs. There were two 'entertainment' acts discussed. One was the Two Headed Nightingales - conjoined twins in Victorian times and another act that consisted of 7 sisters with fantastic long hair called the Sutherland Sisters. The Bronte sisters were discussed as were the Grimke Sisters who were abolitionists in mid 19th Century USA. There was a contribution looking at 3 local women who had made good - one who married a man who was responsible for establishing the first Mosque in Liverpool. Finally there were the Mirabal 4 sisters from The Dominican Republic in the mid 20th Century who opposed the violent dictator Trujillo at some risk to themselves. A varied and fascinating selection and thanks to all members who brought some research. I hope that doing the research was enjoyable and do appreciate that presenting is not always easy but must be rewarding.

All members are encouraged to bring research - only 5 or 10 minutes is needed and you don't have to be a great public speaker.

Meeting topics for the remainder of 2020

16th/17th March - Coercion of women in partnerships (presentation)
20th/21st April Academy Award and Bafta winners
18th/19th May Housework (presentation)
15th/16th June Women in Art – (presentation)
20th/21st July Women in religion
NO MEETING August
14th/15th September Gender in advertising (presentation)
19th/20th October 2020 Women transported to Tasmania (presentation)
16th/17th November 2020 Dancers
15th/15th December 2020 Christmas meeting

Archive

Please note - no meeting in January 2020 so our next meeting will be on 17th February 2020 repeated on the 18th February 2020 at 1pm on both days. The topic will be 'sisters' so please bring your sibling based research.

Two good sessions in December with lots of nice food and some laughs at the pictures which reminded us of some of the good (and bad) things about our youth.

Wishing every one a happy Christmas and a peaceful 2020.

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Just a bit of fun for our meetings on 16th December (repeated on the 17th December at 1pm). We have a lot of pictures to remind us of our younger days - such as a hula hoop - when it was a toy not a snack. It's just a chance to look back at how things used to be and to do this in good company and hopefully with some Christmas type snacks

Please note that there is no meeting in January 2020 and the next session after that will be on 17th February 2020 repeated on the 18th when the topic is 'sisters' so please bring your sibling research.

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Our November meeting will take the form of a presentation. 'Strategies for dealing with unwanted pregnancies in Victorian Britain'. This presentation will examine why many thousands of pregnancies in Victorian Britain were unwanted and the choices available to women both during pregnancy and after the birth of the baby.

All members are welcome to either the Monday or Tuesday meeting. Monday 18th November 2019 repeated Tuesday 19th November. Both start at 1 pm at the Miners Institute on Kirby Road off Twist Lane. Try before you buy. Non members can give the group a try and hopefully join after trying!

Our October meeting looked at women in the 1940s and covered a lot of material. We looked at women doing munitions work and those in essential industries. Whilst women were discouraged from continuing in this type of work post war, the genie was out of the bottle and it was impossible to prevent women from undertaking occupations previously the preserve of men alone. Joan Clark - a woman working at Bletchley Park was discussed. Women in the armed services were examined - including those in Canada and the US. The 'Nightingales' were the nurses who treated wounded men being transported home from the battlefields. A spy working for the SOE and the French resistance was included in our research. The war artist Evelyn Dunbars' work was scrutinised. Women working at the Vulcan factory were examined with the help of contemporary sources. We also looked a the impact of the war on women's fashion - including utility clothing and make do and mend. Finally one member looked at her own mother and how she lived during the war.

December 16th/17th - Reminisce for Christmas - a look at some remembrances of times past and please bring some snacks and drinks

PLEASE NOTE - NO MEETING IN JANUARY 2020 - February 2020 meetings are on 17th repeated 18th February and the topic is 'Sisters'

NEXT YEAR 2020

20th repeated 21st January No Meeting in January
17th/18th February - Sisters
16th/17th March - Coercion of women in partnerships (presentation)
20th/21st April Academy Award and Bafta winners
18th/19th May Housework (presentation)
15th/16th June Women in Art – (presentation)
20th/21st July Women in religion
NO MEETING August
14th/15th September Gender in advertising (presentation)
19th/20th October 2020 Women transported to Tasmania (presentation)
16th/17th November 2020 Dancers
15th/15th December 2020 Christmas meeting
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Our OCTOBER 2019 meeting will look at women in an entire decade. The decade is the 1940s. You may want to talk about your mother or grandmother and their war experiences. Or perhaps a famous politician, actress, writer, artist, scientist, model, WREN, radio star or even a spy. Please join us on MONDAY 14th OCTOBER and repeated the next day TUESDAY 15th OCTOBER.

Our September meeting looked at the Beatles and their partners. A nice way to remind ourselves of the 1960s and especially the visit by the Fab 4 to Leigh and Wigan - which a surprising number of you attended.

All welcome to attend in October - no need to book and it should be a good session

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NO MEETING IN AUGUST - enjoy your summer and we will be back on September 16th (or 17th for the repeat). It's Beatles wives and girlfriends. Should be good (yeah yeah yeah).

Just a note that we have a slight change to the programme as the November 18th (repeated 19th) meeting will be a presentation. It will be about unwanted pregnancies in Victorian times.

So the programme for the remainder of this year is

September 16th/17th - Beatles WAGs
October 14th/15th - Women of the 1940s
November 18th/19th - Unwanted pregnancies in the Victorian era
December 16th/17th - Christmas meeting

Any suggestions for topics for next year or for our Christmas meeting welcome.

The July meeting was about female philanthropists and we looked at women as varied as Josephine Butler to Dolly Parton. Very interesting and we had some discussion about why Victorian women took up charity giving. Also we examined how many contemporary women who are rich in their own right want to spread their wealth.

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The July meeting will be held on MONDAY 15th and repeated on Tuesday 16th July 2019. The meetings begin at 1pm and are held at The Miners. The subject is female philanthropists. Women have long been interested in raising and donating money to charitable causes. There are many examples both contemporary and from history and I am sure we will come up with some interesting research.

Advance notice that we are having a holiday in August so no meeting but normal service will resume on September 16th and 17th with Beatles Wives and Girlfriends.

The Mistresses and Courtesans sessions were very interesting. We looked at a number of women from history and even at Carrie Symonds who is Boris Johnson's current partner. Thanks to all members who bring research. We could not function without this and I am always amazed at the variety of the findings.

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In June 2019 we will look at MISTRESSES AND COURTESANS. The meeting will take place on Monday 17th June and repeated on Tuesday 18th June. All members are welcome. There would appear to be lots of women to choose from - we are talking about the oldest profession!

There were some great contributions to the May meeting on female criminals. Thanks for bringing such an eclectic mix of research.

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The May 2019 meetings will look at female criminals. Women criminals are far more rare than their male counterparts but there are lots of them nevertheless. Please bring your findings to the meetings on either MONDAY 20th May or TUESDAY 21st May. Meetings start at 1pm.

There were two most enjoyable meetings in April. Many thanks to members who brought research about women working in television. Once again the findings were varied and afforded a bit of nostalgia - Children's Hour and Muffin the Mule for example. We also looked at Mary Beard - the latest cult figure. In addition there was input on weather forecaster Lucy Martin - a women who has not allowed a disability to get in the way of her blossoming career. We learnt about Fiona Bruce, Eileen Derbyshire, Anne Diamond and many more. A good topic which may be worth another outing in the future.

I am always looking for members who would be prepared to give presentations, as a change to the usual format is refreshing. You do not have to be a ‘lecturer’ – just someone with an interest related to our subject and a passion to share your interest.

For more information please contact women@leighanddistrictu3a.org.uk.

Dates for your Diary
Tue Feb 15th Servants - discussion
Tue Mar 15th Elizabeth Banks – Victorian Journalist – presentation
Tue Apr 19th Archaeologists - discussion
Tue May 17th Film directors and Producers - discussion
Tue Jun 21st The Pendle Witches – presentation
Tue Jul 19th Politicians - discussion
Tue Aug 16th Motherhood – presentation
Tue Sep 20th Photographers – discussion
Tue Oct 18th Coercion and Control – presentation
Tue Nov 15th Women at work – discussion
Tue Dec 20th Christmas – topic to be arranged
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More Group Pages
Acoustic Guitar Art Appreciation
Astronomy Book Reading & Armchair Critics
Creative Writing Crime & Punishment
Crime & Punishment 2 Egyptology
Indoor Bowls iPads & iPhones
Italian Line Dancing
Local History Luncheon Club
Maths Mixed Crafts
Musical Instruments Oil & Acrylic Painting
Play Reading Poetry Appreciation
Quilters & Needlework Quiz Club
Relaxation/Support Scrabble & Board Games
Shakespeare Singing for Fun
Tai Chi for Health/Wellbeing Ukulele
Walking Cricket Watercolour Painting
Women in History Women in History 2