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Visible in Stone - Women and the built environment

Women's History through Buildings 1850-1950. A partnership project between English Heritage, The Women's Library and the TUC Library Collection at London Metropolitan University.

Researched and written by Dr Cheryl Law.

  • View of St Thomas’ Hospital across the river


    The Story of Women through Buildings 1850 to 1950.

  • A view of the Houses of Parliament from Lambeth

    Women's Rights

    Women's personal and public struggles to gain equal rights.

  • Interior view of the hall in Gaskell House, taken from the staircase

    Uses and Abuses of ‘Property’

    Women's use of domestic space for political ends.

  • Two women assembling small boxes at a table in an unidentified house in the East End of London

    Mary Macarthur and the Sweated Industries

    Working women fighting exploitation in the sweated industries.

  • Restored Victorian schoolroom

    Education for Life

    The limited educational opportunities for working class girls.

  • Gym class at West Heath School for Young Ladies

    Secondary schooling

    The origins of secondary education for middle class girls to gain qualifications and improve their employment possibilities.

  • Aerial view of Girton College


    The strategies women used in forging their own route to a university education.

  • A female shop worker operating a vacuum cleaner

    The Fashion for Shopping

    The contrasting experience of middle and working class women.

  • Detail of the signage for J Lyon's Throgmorton Restaurant and street lamp

    Personal Freedom and Public Space

    How women's freedom to move freely in public was linked to shopping and the development of women only spaces.

  • Suffragette with ‘Votes for Women’ banner

    New Markets

    Ways in which the WSPU's political action influenced department store policy and society's reaction against the New Woman's freedom.

  • St Christopher’s Place, Marylebone, City of Westminster

    Housing - Pioneering

    Octavia Hill developed a housing theory to tackle the blight of urban slums that influenced housing policy for a century.

  • View of house through front gate

    Women's Housing Association

    Women formed housing associations to tackle the problem of lack of accommodation for single working women.

  • Land girls during the First World War

    Architects, Builders and Garden Cities

    Despite official barriers to their training as architects women found many ways in which to participate in architectural projects.

  • Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove

    Gaining Recognition

    Before the Second World War women were gradually becoming involved as architects in the design of houses.

  • The Chantry, Mark Hall North, Harlow

    Post-War Impact

    In the post-war 1940s women architects were involved in some of the most progressive architectural developments in England.

  • Two people standing on the roof of Dorich House

    About the Visible in Stone project

    Women's History through Buildings 1850-1950 - partnership project between Historic England, The Women's Library and the TUC Library Collection at LMU.

  • Monument to Dame Henrietta Barnett, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb


    Biographies of notable women

  • Shakespeare Memorial Centre (now the Royal Shakespeare Theatre), Stratford-upon-Avon. 1929-32, by Elizabeth Scott.  Listed at Grade II*. NHLE List Entry Number: 1207396.

    Celebrating Women Architects

    Taking a look at women's contribution to the field of architecture.