The First Women in Law:

Normanton and Heilbron

In 1949 Helena Normanton and Rose Heilbron, became the first female King’s Counsel     [image: The Guardian]

Celebrating the past to shape the future of women in law

Thursday 4th May, 6.30-8.30pm at Royal Holloway, University of London

2019 will mark 100 years since of the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act which removed any barrier to women working as lawyers on the grounds of their sex.  To celebrate this forthcoming anniversary the Bedford Centre has teamed up with the First 100 Years to run a public panel event and discussion at Royal Holloway, University of London in Egham, Surrey.  We are delighted to welcome three exciting speakers: Dana Denis Smith (First 100 Years), Dr Judith Bourne (Lecturer at St Mary’s University, Twickenham) and Charlotte Coleman,  an alumna of Royal Holloway’s Public History MA whose work on how female lawyers in the past can inspire the next generation you can see and hear at Women in Law: Inspired and Inspirations. All three will explore the  legal and social challenges women faced to become lawyers at the turn of the last century and to highlight how much women have achieved and how history can help ins51hoN4FCT6L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_pire and shape the future of women entering the profession now.  Professor Rosie Meek (Head of Royal Holloway’s School of Law) will introduce the event which will be followed by a reception and book signing by Judith Bourne to mark the publication of her new book, Helena Normanton and the Opening of the Bar to Women. We will also celebrate the achievements of Mary Sykes, who graduated from Royal Holloway College in 1917.  In November 1922 women were permitted to sit the Solicitors’ Final Exam, which she passed with honours, and in 1923 she become one of the first female solicitors in England and Wales.

This free public event is open to all, but we are extending an especially warm invitation to Royal Holloway and Bedford College alumnae who have gone on to work in law and any college or 6th Form students who might be considering a legal career.  There will also be refreshments and an opportunity to talk to the panellists, so do join us for what promises to be an enjoyable evening and engaging discussion.  To reserve a place please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-first-women-lawyers-tickets-32973122497

We would also welcome any comments relating to this topic and to the event itself so do let us know your thoughts and experiences.

 

 

 

 

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‘Mary Toft’s Monstrous Births of 1726: Then and Now’

mary-toft

William Hogarth, ‘Cunucularii or the wise men of Godlimen in consultation’ (1726) Wellcome Library no. 17342i

The Annual Bedford Centre Lecture 2017

By Professor Karen Harvey, University of Sheffield

Thursday 2nd February, 6-8pm Moore Building Auditorium

at Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey

Click here to listen to a podcast of the lecture and view Karen slides

It is also available on our Podcast Resources page

In 1726 Mary Toft gave birth to seventeen rabbits or parts of rabbits in Godalming, Surrey. Toft had looked at the animals during her pregnancy and their image was imprinted on her foetus. Based on new research, Karen’s engaging presentation explores why so many contemporaries, including eminent male Physicians, believed in the hoax.  Many portrayed Toft as a devious woman who set out to hoodwink the doctors and make her fortune, yet this lecture offers other explanations for the extraordinary actions of Toft and her family.  It also explores the social, physical and emotional experiences Toft underwent in the contexts of the work of contemporary midwives, gynaecologists and reproductive medicine.

The Bedford Centre is particularly delighted to welcome back Karen Harvey, who is a Royal Holloway alumna and started her career as a student on the MA in Women’s and Gender History.

Karen is now a Professor of Cultural History at the University of Sheffield and her numerous publications include The Little Republic: Masculinity and Domestic Authority in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Oxford University Press, 2012) which is Open Access and available to read online, and Reading Sex in the Eighteenth Century: Bodies and Gender in English Erotic Culture (Cambridge University Press, January 2004).  Karen works on material culture and is committed to the public understanding of History and the past. She has been Academic in Residence at Bank Street Arts, in Sheffield, since 2012.

This engaging public lecture is free (no booking required) and everyone is  warmly invited to to join us for a wine reception afterwards.  We look forward to seeing you there!