Category Archives: WOMEN’S HISTORY

The changing role of woman in 20th-century Britain

The changing role of woman in 20th-century Britain

Perhaps the most dramatic improvement in Britain’s way of life in the 20th century was the change in the place of women in the nation’s working life. The foundations for this change, which only reached a climax later in the century, were gradually laid in the decades before World War II.

Sweet and incomparable Josephine

Sweet and incomparable Josephine

The love of Bonaparte’s life was an enchanting Creole – the term then used for all white West indians – with a shady past. Born in 1763 to a minor aristocrat and sugar planter on Martinique, Marie-Joséphe-Rose Tascher de la Pagerie had arrived in France at the age of seventeen to enter an arranged marriage with Alexandre de Beauharnais.

Anti-suffragette postcards

Anti-suffragette postcards

In these days on telephone, email, text, Facebook or Twitter, it is salutary to remember that in early 20th-century Britain the picture  postcard was one of the cheapest and most accessible forms of communication. Over 600m postcards were posted in 1904, rising to over a staggering 900m in 1913.

Punishment of women

Punishment of women

For women there were punishments designed to humiliate as well as to hurt. The scold’s bridle took many appearances but in essence each was the same – a metal cage to clamp around the head with a built-in gag. Included  in the design of some was a bell which rang when the ‘scold’ was paraded around the town. Of course, in the streets she was subjected to the jeers of the crowd.

What about Pope Joan?

What about Pope Joan?

Sadly, pope Joan – lovely idea though she is – is entirely fictional. According to legend, after the death of Pope Leo IV in 855 (some sources say after Pope Victor III in 1087) a pope was elected, who took the title John Anglicus. His reign was to be so short, however, as during an Easter procession between St Peter’s and the Lateran palace an excitable crowd pushed him from his horse.