Seven places to explore women's history in the UK

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16 July 2018
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Find out more about your female ancestors with our guide to seven top places to explore the history of women in the UK.
Seven places to explore women's history in the UK Images

Find out more about your female ancestors with our guide to seven top places to explore the history of women in the UK.

1 St Fagan’s National Museum of History
This open-air museum is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Wales, covering centuries of history from the Celts through to the present day. More than 40 original historic buildings from different periods have been painstakingly rebuilt at the site, allowing visitors to see how our ancestors lived, worked and worshipped in years gone by. You can also see native breeds of livestock and watch traditional crafts being created.

St Fagan’s National Museum of History, St Fagans, Cardiff CF5 6XB; website.

2. Votes for Women exhibition – Museum of London
A new display at Museum of London, which runs until 6 January 2019, features iconic items from the museum’s suffragette collection. Highlights including a hunger strike medal which belonged to Emmeline Pankhurst, Emily ‘Kitty’ Willoughby Marshall’s necklace and archive photographs relating to the votes for women cause.

150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN; website.

3. Celebrating Scotland’s women – Glasgow Women’s Library
Come along to the UK’s only accredited museum dedicated to the lives of women, their history and achievements. The archive and collections are rich in artefacts with a wide range of items including photographs, recipe books, girls’ annuals, suffrage material and knitting patterns. The library holds regular events and exhibitions and visitors are welcome from Mondays through to Saturdays.

23 Landressy Street, Glasgow G40 1BP; website.

4 Changing styles – Fashion Museum, Bath
Explore centuries of changes in women’s fashions at the Fashion Museum in Bath. From royals to rebels, the world-class collection of contemporary and historic dress offers a unique look at how women from all walks of life have dressed over the centuries. This year’s main exhibition, A History of Fashion in 100 Objects, celebrates fashion from the 1600s to the present day.

Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, Bath BA1 2QH; website.

5 Living history – Beamish
The ‘living history museum of the north’ is an open air museum which demonstrates what life was like in the north-east of England in the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. The attractions include a recreated 1900s’ pit village, a 1940s’ farm, refurbished tramway and an early 20th century street with chemist, bakery, printer, sweet shop and bank.

Beamish Village, Co Durham DH9 0RG; website.

6 Suffrage 100 – The National Archives
Suffrage 100 is a season of events and exhibitions being held at TNA at Kew to mark 100 years aince some women were given the vote, including the free Suffragettes v the State exhibition running until 26 October 2018. Visit the Suffrage 100 web portal below to find out more and see diary dates, page 86.

The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU; website.

7 The Women’s Library – The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
The Women’s Library began life as The Library of the London Society for Women’s Service at a converted Westminster pub in 1926. Its aims were to preserve the history of the women’s movement, and provide a resource for newly enfranchised women to enter public life. Renamed the Fawcett Library in 1957 and the Women’s Library in 2002, the collection is now homed at the LSE and includes printed materials, archives and artefacts. See the website for details about access and links to the digital library and online collections.

London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE; website.

(St Fagan's image copyright John Cummings; Beamish Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net).