Notorious Women

April 22, 2013 | 0 Comments | Filed under: 2013, May 2013

At our April meeting, Joan Ward gave the History Club a talk on the “Notable and Notorious Women of Derbyshire”. In it she listed many details about the characters that we thought we knew something about and many that we didn’t.

Florence Nightingale – perhaps the malady that affected her on her return was brucellosis – or “Crimea fever”. However this never stopped her from being charitable – she even paid for meat to be delivered once a week to her poorer neighbours.

Allison Uttley – who lived near Cromford and had to walk two miles a day to school, sometimes being helped home by one of their farm labourers. She later found fame as the author of Little Grey Rabbit.
Edith Hill – who wrote a book which was later filmed as The Sheik of Araby starring Rudolph Valentino.

Hannnah Baddely – the love-struck girl who threw herself off the cliffs at Stoney Middleton.

Joan gave us interesting details about many other ladies of yesteryear, but drew a comparison with the freedoms that young women enjoy today, possibly because of the choice of careers open to them. She told us that only in 1970, 85% of women were married before they were 30. Nowadays that figure is only 15%.
Back in history, women were regarded as part of their husbands chattels to be dealt with as he thought fit – including selling her off!

At Chapel-en- le-Frith there is a record of a chap selling off a wife, 5 children and a quantity of furniture for 5 shillings. (The cheapest on record is a wife for the price of a pint – 1d.)
When bicycles first came out they were quickly adopted by the lower middle-classes, but women on bicycles were treated with suspicion!

However, the humble bike did more to widen the gene pool of the population than any other invention.
Initially, women were discouraged from answering the telephone, especially if not properly dressed! And not too long ago, a young woman, if she was in a profession such as teaching or nursing was expected to leave if she got married.

An excellent talk which left us with lots to talk about.

B.Woodall.

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