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AGM & Talk: A Summer School of their Own – The Newnham College Summer Schools for Working Women

Tuesday, 14 May , 7:30 pm 9:00 pm

Between 1922 and 1950 Newnham College and the Workers’ Educational Association ran a pioneering series of residential summer schools specifically to meet the educational needs of working women. Organised largely by women for other women, these remarkable schools were inter-generational, inclusive and non-hierarchial. Mary Joannou’s richly illustrated presentation draws on the voices, reports, letters and personal testimonies of the  factory workers, domestic servants and seamstresses who attended, many of whom came from the ‘distressed areas’ of the country, as well as the recollections of their teachers. The talk pieces together a fascinating story of women’s creativity, aspirations and determination to expand their own  educational horizons using materials from the college archives by kind permission of the Principal and Fellows.

Mary Joannou loves finding out more about women’s lives, literature and history and is Emerita Professor at Anglia Ruskin University attached to the Labour History Research Unit. She was the founder and key organiser of CAMVOTE 100 and involved in securing Blue Plaques in Cambridge to commemorate the lives of Millicent Garrett Fawcett, Clara Rackham and Leah  Manning. Her biography, The Life and Turbulent Times of Clara Dorothea Rackham, Suffragist, Socialist and Social Reformer was published by Routledge in 2022. 

This talk will take place in Ross Street Community Centre, a fully accessible venue, and is open to everyone, with a suggested donation of £3. Note we can now take cardless payments.

It will be preceded by a short Annual General Meeting of the society.

7pm: Doors Open
7:30pm: AGM
7:45pm: Talk

There is no recording of the talk however much of the content can be found in pages 4 to 13 of Women’s History Today, Spring 2023.


Ross Street Community Centre

Ross Street Community Centre, Ross Street
Cambridge, CB1 3UZ United Kingdom
01223 213162
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