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Winchester Women and the Girls’ Friendly Society

  • Hampshore Record Office Sussex Street Winchester Hampshire (map)

Hampshire Archives & Local Studies, Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8TH

In the late 19th century Winchester was a centre of philanthropic activity. The home of the Mothers' Union, Winchester was also the cradle of its precursor, The Girl's Friendly Society (GFS). Founded in 1875, the GFS was the first women's organisation adopted by the Anglican Church. Its founder Mary Townsend drew the support of powerful women including novelist Charlotte Young, Mothers' Union founder Mary Sumner, and the imperialist and pioneer of women's emigration the Hon Ellen Joyce.

Drawing on traditions of philanthropy the GFS aimed to protect the morals of young working women and girls. The middle and upper class organisers of GFS branches provided club rooms, holiday homes, employment training and educational opportunities for their members. With the motto 'bear ye one another's burdens' the GFS encouraged unmarried working class women and girls, categories traditionally positioned as recipients of patronage, to identify themselves as active agents in the well being of others and their country.

Dr Sue Anderson-Faithful is the author of Mary Sumner, Mission, Education and Motherhood: thinking a life with Bourdieu (Lutterworth 2018). A long term resident of Winchester, she is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winchester, where she teaches history and the pedagogy of history. Sue is a member of the university’s Centre for the History of Women’s Education.

  • Saturday 21 September: 1000-1100

Not suitable for under 16years of age

45 min talk with opportunity for audience Q&A 

Please note the room where the talk is being held is only accessible via stairs or a lift. Since the lift cannot be used in an emergency, evacuation of less able visitors in an emergency is down the stairs via an evacuation chair. Hampshire Record Office ask that we notify them advance of the presence of anyone using a wheelchair or with access issues likely to require use of an evacuation chair in an emergency. Please select 'accessible ticket' when booking if you feel this could be you.

Earlier Event: September 21
A Tale of Two Matildas