Category Archives: Written by…

Delia Derbyshire

Delia Derbyshire was a pioneer in electronic music who created one of the most well known TV theme tunes of all time.

Delia was born in Coventry in 1937, only two years before the outbreak of the Second World War. When the war began the government encouraged parents of young children like Delia to send them away to the relative safety of the countryside,  however many chose not to. Initially, Delia’s parents were amongst them. She stayed in Coventry and lived through the famous Coventry Blitz, which razed the city to the ground. The sound of the air raid siren sounded night after night made a lasting impact on Delia, in her later life she reflected: Continue reading Delia Derbyshire

Kate Warne: First Female Detective

Have you ever heard the name Kate Warne? Most people haven’t. And yet, she did amazing things – every bit as impressive as household names like Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride and Marie Curie. Not only did she convince the founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency to hire her as a female operative – in 1856! – she rose through the ranks to head up a Bureau of Female Detectives within the agency, saved Abraham Lincoln’s life en route to his inauguration, and went undercover as a spy for the Union during the Civil War. Continue reading Kate Warne: First Female Detective

Dr Isabella Stenhouse’s Sheroic Journey

Isabella Stenhouse served as a doctor during the First World War, but is that enough to make her a Shero? In fact, what makes any ordinary girl into a Shero? Joseph Campbell analysed hero stories from around the world. He found that they followed a remarkably constant pattern that he called  The Hero’s Journey. If Isabella’s journey matched Campbell’s model, would she qualify as a Shero?  Continue reading Dr Isabella Stenhouse’s Sheroic Journey

Lois Weber, Hollywood Shero

Lois Weber was early Hollywood’s original shero.  In a career that spanned almost three decades at the beginning of moviemaking, Weber wrote and directed more than 40 features and over 100 shorts.  She was the first woman to direct a feature film in the US –The Merchant of Venice in 1914the first woman admitted to the Motion Picture Directors’ Association in 1916, and in 1917 she became the first woman to run a Hollywood studio.

In her time Weber was considered one of the three “great minds” in early film-making, alongside D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille. While her male peers have long been celebrated as the fathers of American cinema, Weber has been largely forgotten. Continue reading Lois Weber, Hollywood Shero

Margaret Morris, Pioneer of Movement

Margaret Morris was a prolific dancer, choreographer, artist and the founder of the international Margaret Morris Movement (MMM). Today, very few people know about the Margaret Morris Movement and fewer still are aware of who Margaret Morris was.  But in its hay day, the MMM was widely known, with a series of schools across the world. And during Margaret Morris’s lifetime, she was celebrated as a pioneer in the field of movement, dance and physical culture. Continue reading Margaret Morris, Pioneer of Movement

Freda White

For a short time in the sixties and early seventies I had two great female friends. I was in my twenties, Frances Gordon in her fifties and Freda White in her late seventies. I had recently graduated from Glasgow University and was accumulating educational qualifications; Frances had a degree from the LSE gained in the 1930s and was a linchpin in the political and cultural life of Edinburgh; Freda was among the first graduates from Somerville College, Oxford, an author, journalist, campaigner and lecturer of international renown. Continue reading Freda White

Jane Addams: Chicago’s Progressive Shero

Jane Addams was born in 1860–the daughter of a wealthy Illinois businessman. At the age of two, her mother died after falling on ice while pregnant. This left Jane empathetic to how fate could work against a person. Continue reading Jane Addams: Chicago’s Progressive Shero