Warrior Women This Afternoon!

hannah snell

Very short notice but I’m doing a talk this afternoon at 3pm in the Duke of York’s cinema, Preston Circus on some of the women in the past who disguised themselves as men to get round the ban on women serving in the military.  Above  is Hannah Snell (1723 – 1792l), soldier and pub landlady, who served in the Battle of Pondicherry, and at one point, ended up removing a bullet from her own groin in secret rather than ask for medical attention and reveal that she was a woman.  I’ll also be talking about fearless, Irish-born Margaret Bulkley, aka Dr James Barry, who managed, in disguise, to storm two male bastions in one go, qualifying as a doctor at the University of Edinburgh, and then getting a job as an army surgeon.  Dr Barry had a successful career all over the world.  In South Africa she performed the world’s first successful caesarean that didn’t end up with the death of mother or baby.  She was one of the first doctors to use anaesthetics, stood up for slaves, was vegetarian, managed an outbreak of cholera in Malta, managed to annoy Florence Nightingale, was thanked by the Duke of Wellington and successfully kept her disguise until she died.  I’ll be talking about these and other daring, sometimes sad, but always swashbuckling stories of other women soldiers (including local heroine, Phoebe Hessel) this afternoon.

Dr Barry is on the left.  She’s accompanied by her friend, John, whom she met in Jamaica.

Part of the @AgeingWellFestival in Brighton for 50+. Tickets 01273 322940.

Photograph;_Dr._James_Barry_with_negro_servant_and_dog._Wellcome_L0022267

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Ageing Well and Historical Women

This Autumn I will be doing six events for the Brighton Ageing Well Festival (previously known as the Brighton Older People’s Festival).  The Festival, which is about to start on 30th September and runs until 13th October, describes itself on its website as ‘a two week extravaganza packed full of events for you to get to, highlighting the activities going on in our city all year round.’  Talks, walks and other activities aimed at ages 50+.

My events include three gentle 90 minute walks:

‘Notorious Women of Hove” on Wednesday 2nd October, starting at 11 from the Garden Café in St Ann’s Well Gardens, Hove.

“Notorious Women of Brighton” on Sunday 6th October, starting at 11 from St Nicholas Church, Dyke Road, Brighton.

And “Notorious Women of Kemptown” on Sunday 13th October, starting at 11 from St George’s Church, St George’s Road, Kemptown.

I’ll also be doing three 60 minute illustrated talks in the café-bar at the Duke of York’s Picturehouse Cinema, Preston Road, Brighton.  All start at 3pm.  These are:

Thursday 3rd October – “Entertaining Women” – a look at some of the brilliant women from our city who have found fame in the worlds of theatre, music-hall, cabaret, film, TV, soap opera, and music.

Tuesday 8th October, “Pioneering Women Doctors of Brighton and Hove” – a look at some of the early women doctors who came to practise in the city from the 1890s.

Thursday 10th October – “Women Warriors” – a look at Brighton’s Phoebe Hessel and some of the women, like her, who disguised themselves as men and managed to have a military career years before women were allowed to join the army.

There are many other fantastic events going on.  To find out more, go to http://www.ageingwellfestival.org

Most events are low priced or free.  To book contact the Festival directly on 01273 322940

See you there!