Corset makers and cinema crew, secretaries and suffragettes

A new exhibition, Women in Letchworth, which celebrates the extraordinary (and ordinary) women in Letchworth Garden City, opens on Friday 27 July at the Community Museum in The Arcade.

Drawing on the rich archives at the Garden City Collection, the exhibition brings to life the stories of women who lived active and purposeful lives in Letchworth through fascinating objects and old photographs.

Josh Tidy, Curator of the Women in Letchworth exhibition, said: “Letchworth’s past is packed full of passionate, inspiring and high-achieving women, many of whom will be celebrated in this exhibition. From corset makers to cinema crew, factory girls to flappers, secretaries to suffragettes and war workers to women on their wedding day, we are delighted to be able to recognise the contribution these women made to day-to-day life.”

The exhibition will also celebrate Letchworth’s suffragists and suffragettes. Josh added: “Letchworth Garden City has a proud history of fighting for the suffrage cause. We know that there were 284 women from Letchworth who were members of the National Union of Women Suffrage Society. We are looking forward to recognising them in this exhibition.”

He continued: “We’re also excited to be working with Ursula Howard, great granddaughter of Letchworth’s founder, Ebenezer Howard, who was a proud member of the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage. Ursula Howard has helped us by providing interesting information and contributing photographs of her great grandmother, Elizabeth Howard, who was Ebenezer’s first wife. Elizabeth was a strong and supportive presence in his life and work.”

There will also be a display of Letchworth Women Today, where we will be displaying profiles of women who are alive and active in the community, sharing their thoughts and what they do in Letchworth today. It is hoped that this will encourage other women in the community to be nominated, as the profiles will become part of the Garden City Collection archive, to be treasured and shared for years to come. 

Women in Letchworth is at the Community Museum in The Arcade from Friday 27 July until Saturday 29 September. The exhibition will be open from 10am – 4pm, Thursday to Saturday.