Victorian Penal Institutions for Juvenile Females and Mary Carpenter, by Tahaney Alghrani

In our latest post Tahaney Alghrani reflects on crime, gender and ‘reform’ in Victorian port cities.

In recent months, youth knife crime has been much debated in the British press. These debates, however, are not new.  Just as today there are conflicting views on how we should address youth crime, this was also a central debate in the nineteenth century. Reformatory and Industrial schools, the first penal institutions for juvenile offenders, were established in 1855 to remove youths from their criminal associations and ‘at risk’ environments in order to reform them and train them within industry. Recent research by Barry …

Ruth Cavendish-Bentinck by Dr. Gillian Murphy

In this latest post, Dr. Gillian Murphy (re) introduces us to Ruth Cavendish-Bentick, suffragette and socialist.

Ruth Cavendish-Bentinck was the illegitimate daughter of Ferdinand St Maur, the elder son of the 12th Duke of Somerset, and a half-gipsy maid. Her parents died when Ruth was young and she was brought up by her grandparents, the Duke and Duchess of Somerset.

Her grandfather was an advocate of married women’s property rights. Her great-aunt was Caroline Norton, who had launched and won the campaign to give women undisputed right of access to their children when they were estranged from their husbands. …


Professional Women:
the public, the private, and the political

2019 marks the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act in Britain, which opened all ‘civil professions or vocations’, including the civil service and legal profession, to women. It was a significant landmark – but neither a beginning or an end – in the history of professional women.

This conference will explore not only the significance of the 1919 Act, but also the ‘professional woman’ in all periods, nations and forms. She is found far beyond ‘the professions’, in fields ranging from agriculture to industry, from education to the arts. She …

The Politicization of Food: Women and food queues in the Second World War, by Charlotte Sendall

The Second World War highlighted many sacrifices women endured for their country. Food became more significant during the conflict as the nations resilience was tested by food shortages and regulations. It was primarily women, who struggled with food shortages and rationing on the home front. Yet in academic debates about the impact on of the war, the impact of the  time and effort women  spent in queues have often been overlooked.

On 8 January 1940, the government, introduced rationing for; bacon, butter and sugar to prevent food shortages, just as they had at the end of the First World …

Representing Women – Dr Freya Gowrley

In this wonderful piece Dr. Freya Gowrley reflects on representation, fatness and body-shaming.

When asked what Women’s History Month meant to me as the prompt for writing this blog post, my mind immediately went to issues of representation. For me, the month highlights the excellent work being done to make history more inclusive by finding and reintroducing women into the historical canon, whilst unpacking the systems of oppression that have kept women from it. By identifying their previously overlooked contributions, the gendered issues affecting them, and the forms of their representation, or lack thereof, throughout history, this work is vital …