Acclaimed social historian comes to Winchester to discuss proto-feminist Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon

Acclaimed social historian comes to Winchester to discuss proto-feminist Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon

Image:Jane Robinson. Photo by Bruce James.

Acclaimed author and public speaker, Jane Robinson, is coming to The ARC, Winchester on Thursday 23rd May to discuss Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon – the fascinating subject of her latest book ‘Trailblazer: The First Feminist To Change Our World,’ for the latest Wire Wool event.

Jane Robinson has a proven talent for finding unsung heroines behind the scenes of history. This time she has discovered a hidden gem. Victorian Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon opened many of the doors we step through as modern women, unaware of her part in changing our world. Artist, campaigner, and connoisseur of human happiness, she was a true pioneer, kick-starting the fight for the vote, founding the first university college for women and campaigning for equal opportunities at work and at home. 

Jane Robinson is an energetic speaker who specialises in sharing social history through women’s eyes. In this talk in Winchester she will be sharing the hidden history of a remarkable Victorian woman who changed our world.

Jane Robinson says: I write about history’s most remarkable and unfairly forgotten women. Barbara Bodichon was an obvious choice for a biography: a true pioneer making a difference not only to her own age, but to ours. Join me to discover why this activist, artist, friend of the famous and champion of the disadvantaged is such an inspiring heroine.”

Jane Robinson invites you to join her for an inspiring evening in Barbara’s company, and find out about this trailblazing feminist’s astonishing history. Local independent bookseller P&G Wells will be selling copies of the book in advance, and on the night.

Jane Robinson has been described by the BBC as ‘one of our most engaging and original social historians.’ She was born in Edinburgh, grew up in North Yorkshire and read English at Somerville College, Oxford. She has worked in the antiquarian book trade and as an archivist, and is now a full-time writer and lecturer, specializing in social history through women’s eyes. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical and Royal Geographical Societies, a Hawthornden Fellow, and a Senior Associate of Somerville College. In her spare time she collects books (a habit developed following her ban from the local library at the age of 7 for using a jam tart bookmark) and designs pop-up Escape Rooms for charity. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and two feline assistants, Emmy and Mrs Chippy. Trailblazer is her thirteenth book. Previous titles include Bluestockings: the Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education; Hearts and Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote, and Ladies Can’t Climb Ladders: the Pioneering Adventures of the First Professional Women and a short biography of Josephine Butler.


Price: £15 in advance from

This event is a toiletries donation point for Winchester Basics Bank – please bring toiletries, tampons and towels if you are able.

A raffle will be drawn, with all proceeds going to START


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