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!

 

 

Women’s Work

The only person I’d heard of before visiting the fantastic exhibition ‘Women’s Work: Pioneering Women in Craft, 1918 – 1939’ was Enid Marx.  What a joy, then, to stumble upon so many women with local connections who were busy shaping our modern world through craft just after the First World War.  And in so many different ways.  Take the modernist designers, Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher (below),

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for example, whose jazzily designed textiles printed by hand, often using hand blocks, gained the attention – and custom – of Coco Chanel among many others.

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Then there are the sumptuous designs of weaver, Alice Hindson, including beautiful bags, textiles, including this dress…

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…and some of her student designs…

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I also loved the vibrant pottery of Denise Wren, which included quirky, small animals, lamp bases, bright vases, and this ‘pot with “stormy sunset” glaze…

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Another happy discovery – the work of Catherine ‘Casty’ Cobb, a pioneering silversmith, whose work often incorporated found objects – i.e. upcycling before the word was invented – and included an unusual cruet set made of ivory shot through with silver pins, as well as this bold, yet very chic necklace…

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Quoting from the Ditchling Museum booklet “Respected as teachers as well as makers, the craftswomen were championed by female entrepreneurs and gallery owners and various networks were formed.”  This is one of the things that emerged for me from the exhibition – the women weren’t just artists, they were businesswomen.  Far from being impoverished artists starving in garrets or suffering for their art, they got on with taking their skills out there, starting successful businesses and producing incredible work – even if it wasn’t going to be as upheld in future years as it should be.  Well done to Ditchling Museum for shining a light on these women and helping to give them the recognition they deserve.

What I liked about the exhibition (another thing I liked) was the cards that gave visitors the chance to write down and display the names of other craftswomen who aren’t given the recognition they deserve.  This was mine…

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Eastbourne’s Tirzah Garwood who so often falls in the shadow of her husband, Eric Ravillious, yet produced spellbinding woodcuts, particularly of people, animals, and domestic scenes.  Tirzah deserves a post of her own (and will probably get one as I’m going to be talking about her on Thursday as part of my Pioneering Women of East Sussex talk for one of the Eastbourne WIs).  Watch this space.

In the meantime, do go and see ‘Women Work’ in Ditchling to make some fantastic discoveries and learn about some women who should be household names.

It’s on until 13th October and open Tues to Sat 10.30am – 5pm, and Sunday and bank holidays 11.00 – 5pm.20190721_17024115637419160645829877111653378084.jpg

 

Wonderful Women of Kemptown – Guided Walks July and August!

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So the flyer says ‘notorious’, but the women of Kemptown are pretty wonderful too.  The first British woman to swim the Channel, the first (and, surely, the only) woman to be awarded a blue plaque for services to witchcraft, a woman who changed the way we shop and one of Britain’s top female novelists who managed to be a rip-roaring success without ever giving an interview, what’s not to love?  On Saturday morning 20th July and Tuesday evening 6th August, I’ll be holding guided walks around this lovely area, looking at the buildings and streets with links to these woman and more.  Both walks fully accessible and lasting around 90 minutes.  Start point outside St George’s Church, 93 St George’s Road, Brighton, BN2 1ED (below).  We’ll wind things down on Lewes Crescent.  Cost £8/£7 per person.

More details:

Saturday 20th July, 10.30 a.m

Tuesday 6th August 6.30 p.m

If you’re interested in joining me email me at historywomenbrighton@outlook.com or call 07758 296563

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New Tours for May!

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As usual I will be doing Notorious Women of Brighton and Notorious Women of Hove walking tours during the Brighton Fringe Festival throughout May.  There may well be a couple of pop-up Notorious Women of Kemptown Walks too, dates to be confirmed!

Here are the details:

Notorious Women of Brighton

Wilful princesses, Music Hall stars, headstrong courtesans, entrepreneurs, Brighton has always attracted women who dare do things differently. Hear some of their stories and other female claims to fame.

Starts – outside St Nicholas Church, Dyke Road, Brighton, BN1 3LJ

Sunday mornings – 5th, 19th, 26th May, 2nd June at 10.30

Tuesday evenings – 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th May at 18.30

Notorious Women of Hove

Hove has been home to women whose ideas have shaken up our world – from some of Britain’s first woman doctors to suffragettes, social campaigners to boundary-shifting entertainers.  Come and walk in these women’s footsteps and hear their inspiring stories.

Starts – outside the Garden Café, St Ann’s Well Gardens BN3 1RP

Saturday mornings – 4th, 18th, 25th May, 1st June at 10.30

Thursday morning – 23rd May at 10.30

Thursday evenings – 16th, 23rd, 30th May at 18.30.

All walks fully accessible, and last 1h30 – 2h.

Tickets £8, £7 concessions.

Available from the Fringe Box Office brightonfringe.org, 01273 917272 or in person at the Brighton Fringe New Road Box Office opposite the Theatre Royal on New Road, Brighton BN1 1EB or the Brighton Fringe Spiegeltent Box Office, Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1GY.

Remember – if none of these dates suit you, please contact me to book a private tour.  I offer walking tours and lectures to groups, large or small, in English and French, at a time convenient to you.  Contact me on historywomenbrighton@outlook.com or call 07758 296563.

 

See you there!

 

 

New Walking Tours! Get in Touch with Brighton and Hove’s Feminine Side…

I am really happy to have just started working in partnership with Visit Brighton.  New tours, new information – all accessible here:  http://www.visitbrighton.com/things-to-do/history-women-brighton-p1187231?purgepage=true  Or carry on reading…

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Get in touch with Brighton and Hove’s feminine side on a walking tour with Royal Pavilion and Museums guide, Louise Peskett. Discover an alternative view of the city illustrated by the stories of the incredible, outrageous, and brilliant women of its past.

Join me on a gentle 90 minute walk:

History Women Brighton – Women soldiers, music-hall stars and rebellious princesses come alive on this stroll from central Brighton’s oldest church through the Lanes, Pavilion Gardens and Brighton’s Cultural Quarter, finishing at the Theatre Royal.

History Women Hove Starting in central Hove’s St Ann’s Well Gardens and proceeding through the area’s grandest squares to the seafront, this walk follows the footsteps of some of Britain’s first women doctors, suffragettes, social campaigners and artists, and takes in a pioneering women’s hospital and game-changing girls’ school.

History Women Kemptown – Hear how worlds as diverse as policing, fashion, education, and corsets were influenced by women who once lived in this atmospheric and historic suburb of Brighton! Starts at St George’s Church.

Victorian Working Class Brighton – During the nineteenth century the Queen’s Park/Hanover area developed as a vibrant and lively working-class district. Join me to discover traces of these long-gone communities in old shops, pubs, slipper-baths, the work-house, and school. Starts at St Luke’s Church.

The Royal Pavilion Estate – A visit inside the Royal Pavilion is a Brighton ‘must-do’ but what about the outside? This hour’s walk around the Royal Pavilion Gardens and surrounds explores the creation of this beautiful green space, the history of the Gardens, its adjoining gates and buildings, and its First World War legacy.

No group too small. Too long? Too short? Let me tailor a walk to your requirements.

All walks available in French. TEFL trained, I am experienced in guiding in simple English to language students and people without fluent English. All levels catered for. Language students welcome!

Don’t want to walk? I offer the above walks – and more – as seated, illustrated lectures. Let me visit your group and enjoy the stories from the comfort of a chair. Full list on my website www.historywomenbrighton.com.

All walks will go ahead at pre-set times during the Brighton Fringe in May 2017 as usual and, hopefully, if the weather forecast looks good, in Spring.  Check here or drop me an email if you’d like to be on my mailing list.  See you soon!

Wait! There’s more…

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This is the state of my shoes after doing nineteen Notorious Women walking tours around Brighton and Kemptown throughout May.  To say nothing of my cagoule and a variety of umbrellas lost, blown inside out and left on the number 7 bus.  But despite this, I had a great time.  If you came, a big thank you for buying a ticket, joining in, telling me about other historic women I didn’t know about, and generally making them fun occasions.   I was really pleased to get not one two great reviews from The Argus this year.  Here: http://www.theargus.co.uk/leisure/critic/12929429.Brighton_Fringe__Notorious_Women_Of_Brighton__starts_St_Nicholas_Church__Dyke_Road__until_Sunday__May_31__call_01273_917272/   http://www.theargus.co.uk/leisure/critic/12929429.Brighton_Fringe__Notorious_Women_Of_Brighton__starts_St_Nicholas_Church__Dyke_Road__until_Sunday__May_31__call_01273_917272/   And here: http://www.theargus.co.uk/leisure/critic/12931104.Brighton_Fringe__Notorious_Women_of_Kemptown__from_St_George___s_Church__Kemptown__until_Saturday__May_23__call_01273_917272

To sum up ‘I was really pleased when they Peskett’s excellently researched tour focuses on telling great stories’, ‘This fascinating tour is a wonderful way to explore the area, discovering architectural features, blue plaques, narrow twittens and quiet mews streets for the first time.’  And, best of all, ‘Guide Louise Peskett is usually fond of her subjects, but commented: “I tried to find something interesting to tell you about this princess, but she was actually quite dutiful and boring. So let’s talk about corsets!”  .

With this in mind, I’m going to do them all over again (in new shoes).  So if you didn’t catch the walks first time around, went to one but didn’t manage the other, or don’t know what I’m talking about, you can join me during July and August for a hopefully sunnier walk through the town, hearing some great stories and taking in some of Brighton’s more female-centric history.  Just like we’re doing down here (with thanks to Barbara Graeff for photo);

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So here are the dates…

Notorious Women of Brighton.   Wilful princesses, Music Hall stars, headstrong courtesans, entrepreneurs, Brighton has always attracted women who dare do things differently. Hear some of their stories and other female claims to fame.  Starts outside St Nicholas Church, Dyke Road, Brighton. Tuesday evenings 14th, 21st, 28th, July and 11th, 18th and 25th August at 6.30 pm.  I will also be doing two Sunday mornings – 26th July and 16th August.  10.30 am start.  Tours last for about one hour and 20 minutes.

Notorious Women of Kemptown.  From Ladies to ladies, scientists to sportswomen, Kemptown has inspired some incredible women. Hear how worlds as diverse as policing, fashion, education, shopping and the arts were shaken by local women on this gentle walk.  Starts outside St Georges Church, St Georges Road, Kemptown, Brighton on two Saturday mornings – 25th July and 15th August. 10.30 am start.  Also Tuesday evening 4th August at 6.30pm.

Tickets for both walks cost £7.50 / £6.50 concessions.  I’m not selling advance tickets so please turn up early to secure your place or email me on historywomenbrighton@outlook.com so I know to expect you and save you a place.

I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

In the meantime, thanks to my friend, Ali Ghanimi, here’s proof that the gold sphere on Brighton’s clocktower does move up and down.  You weren’t dreaming that.

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and….

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