Mary Ann Tocker Research Accepted on Wikipedia!

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Catherine Horrell has been researching the fascinating life of Mary Ann Tocker (1778 - 1853) as part of the push to redress the gender balance in Wikipedia biographies. Catherine stumbled across this story as she was researching her own family history:

‘Mary Ann Tocker (1778 – 1853) was born in Tregony, Cornwall and tried for Libel at Bodmin in 1818. Acting in her own defence, she drew attention to corrupt electoral practices and the arrogance of men in Judicial office who thought they were above the Law.

Mary Ann had written an anonymous letter published in the West Briton. In it she exposed the behaviour of a Stannary Court Judge who had obtained office by electioneering. When he discovered she was the writer, he accused her of libel. She could prove that he had both neglected his duties while himself in jail and that he had taken bribes. In 1818, it was not a lawful defence against Libel to argue that statements were true or in the public interest. However, Mary Ann argued against the absurdity of the law. She quoted from celebrated Libel cases and used moral philosophy to make her case. She stood up to the judge when he interrupted or blocked her attempts to give evidence. She finished by appealing to the common sense of the jurors: "I trust that it will be seen this day, that it is more hazardous to commit a crime, than to publish that crime when committed.''

Despite the Judge's instructions, the jurors found her not guilty. Mary Ann's victory was rightly celebrated as 'triumph of virtue' over bribery and corruption. She had triumphed in a male domain and influenced other woman radicals. Why is she not better known today?’

Read Catherine’s full Wikipedia article here.

Bodies of Performance - A Talk by Roberta Mock, 29th November 7pm

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As part of the Cultivator funded presentations for Hypatia's Creative Network, this talk thinks through the relationships between the body of an individual performer and her body of performance work over an extended period of time. Focusing three very different performers -- Canadian performance artist, Jess Dobkin; London-based interdisciplinary visual artist, Oreet Ashery; and the late American comedian, Joan Rivers -- it will consider how specific performance events might embody the ghostings, reanimations and accumulations of previous performances by both the artist in question and others.

Book your FREE ticket through Eventbrite here (refreshments included):

At the heart of this exploration is the spatiality of the performing body, borrowing from Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of the body as a “nexus of living meanings,” in order to consider the transgression of gendered expectations. For each of these women, the tensions between interiority and exteriority operate as both seams and fault lines, enabling deep connections to the historicity of performing bodies as well as effective ones with audiences and participants in the moment of performance.

Roberta Mock is Professor of Performance Studies and the Director of the Doctoral College at the University of Plymouth. She is also the Chair of the Theatre & Performance Research Association (TaPRA). Her books include Jewish Women on Stage, Film & Television; Performance, Embodiment and Cultural Memory (as co-editor with Colin Counsell); and Walking, Writing and Performance (as editor). From 1996 to 2006 she directed and performed with Lusty Juventus physical theatre; now she makes occasional solo performances.

More information on this event can be found here.

Bristol Art Library Comes to Town! 3rd November

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This free event celebrates Bristol Art Library's 20th anniversary. Head librarian artist Annabel Other is delighted to be bringing the library to The Hypatia Trust. A performance event - pop in and interact with this fully functioning public library housed in a wooden cabinet the size of a small suitcase. 

The library’s volumes cover a wide range of subjects, from palaeontology to astronomy, with 250 books made by artists and practitioners from all areas of the arts and sciences. The library will be at Tate St Ives the day before it comes to Hypatia in Penzance and new publications will be collected in Cornwall along the way - including an edition by artist Abigail Reynolds.

Membership of Bristol Art Library is free, and once you have joined and received your manilla reader’s ticket you may visit the library and peruse its volumes anywhere in the world. The library now has 1200 members, a gift shop and a friends’ organisation FOTBAL (Friends of The Bristol Art Library).

Pop in and join in the fun on Saturday 3rd November anytime between 2-4pm. We recommend you sign up for a free ticket through eventbrite - though just come along if not!

More info here.

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Art & Taste Charity Auction: Gardeners' House Fundraiser, 1st November 2018

Another fabulous fundraising event coming up in aid of The Gardeners’ House project! On the 1st November is the Art & Taste Charity Auction, with paintings, drawings, ceramics, jewellery, cinema and restaurant offers all up for grabs.

The auction will take place at The Union Hotel, Chapel Street, at 6.30pm, and promises to be a really fun evening with some amazing things on offer from generous local artists and businesses. Have a look at what you could bid on! Viewing will begin on the day at 4.30pm.

For the Facebook event page, click here.

Plenty more to follow in support of the project, so keep an eye out for more events this autumn.

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Maria's Marathon - 14th October 2018

On Sunday, 14th October 2018 Maria Adams is competing in Cornwall’s biggest running event, the Eden Marathon and Half Marathon - a multi-terrain route through the spectacular Cornish countryside.

She'll be tackling this challenging hilly multi-terrain course to raise funds for The Gardeners' House project, our mission to build a new botanical education centre in Penzance.

If you'd like to support Maria and the project click here to donate 

For more information on the run you can go to Eden Marathon

Best of luck to Maria and her training!!

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New date for Jellyfish Thinking, Art & HD! 13th October, 2pm

We have a new date for Bryony Gillard’s presentation!

In partnership with the Exchange Gallery, Penzance, Hypatia artist Bryony Gillard will explore the relationships between art and literature, peripheral landscapes, female experience, and creativity, drawing on the writings of the Modernist poet, and Isle of Scilly resident, H.D. 

Bryony will talk about her recent moving image work, A cap like water, transparent, fluid yet with definite body (2018), recently presented at Tate St.Ives in Virginia Woolf: An exhibition inspired by her writings. The event will also include a screening of the film.

Bryony Gillard’s practice is situated between writing and art practices that draw on the notion of ‘constant revision’, and states of being in which structures or ideas can be subverted, dissolved or questioned. Her work often focuses on marginalised Herstories and practices — addressing historic imbalances and reflecting upon practices, approaches and ideas that refuse to be pinned down or categorised.

October 13th, 2-4pm at the Hypatia Trust. More information about this event here.

Payment by donation.

The Elizabeth Treffry Collection Moves to Morrab

Finally - A Room of Our Own

In 2012 the Hypatia Trust launched a campaign called "A room of our own"-- inspired by Virginia Woolf's seminal feminist essay--to find a new permanent home for the Elizabeth Treffry Collection on Women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and just over 6 years later this 3000-strong collection of books and papers has finally found a permanent public home at the Morrab Library.

Hypatia has permanently gifted the Elizabeth Treffry Collection to the Morrab Library with a number of fittings and accessories to aid the continued cataloguing of the books and archives for the benefit of the public. 

Dr Tehmina Goskar, Heritage Lead for the Hypatia Trust said:

"This move has been a long time coming. Echoing the struggles many women face to have their achievements recognised, recorded and valued, I am both relieved and delighted at the Morrab Library's offer to be the place where the only collection dedicated to Cornish women will reside. And what a year to do it, to mark the suffrage centenary--the possibilities for women's studies and women's heritage in Cornwall have gone up considerably. We have numerous supporters to thank for making this happen, but in particular everyone involved in the Heritage Lottery-funded History 51 project in 2013 and the Tanner Trust who supported the cataloguing of the collection."

The collection of books, information boxes and archives covers a range of topics from Cornish women's achievements to their literary triumphs. It also includes works by women who have adopted Cornwall as their home or for whom the Duchy has been an inspiration. 

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Join Us for a Historic Day!

A historic day tomorrow! In 2012 the Hypatia Trust launched a campaign called "A room of our own"-- inspired by Virginia Woolf's seminal feminist essay - to find a new permanent home for the Elizabeth Treffry Collection on Women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Just over 6 years later this 3000-strong collection of books and papers has finally found a permanent public home at the Morrab Library! Join us for this wonderful day if you can at 2pm, with tea later on.

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Suffragette Tea Party - 18th July, 7pm

EqualiTeas are an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy politics. This one especially celebrates Women and the Vote and The Rebellious Sound Archive & Listening Booth at Hypatia. Join us for an informal evening of tea, talk and fun with a few words from Tom Williams from Parliament.

Do come dressed as your favourite suffragette or political reformer! 7-9pm.


Rebellious Sounds Archive - 14th - 27th July

Exploring a rich heritage of women’s activism, this interactive collection features historical oral histories from women in the South West and continues to collect inspiring stories that connect women now to the women’s suffrage campaign 100 years ago. 

Become a part of the story and come along to the listening booth from 14th July to 27th July at the Hypatia Trust!

Workshop days 19th & 20th July 10-4pm.


Young Women's Book Club Launching!

Introducing a brand new Hypatia Trust group! For young women 18-36 keen to read more widely and discuss female-focused and authored works as a group. 

We're kicking off with 'Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype' by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

'Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman, but she is an endangered species. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller shows how women's vitality can be restored through what she calls "psychic archeological digs" into the ruins of the female unconsious. Using multicultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, Dr. Estes helps women reconnect with the healthy, instinctual, visionary attributes of the Wild Woman archetype.' 

Our first meeting will be on the 25th July at 7pm at The Hypatia Trust, and we ask £2 for entry to cover the cost of the space. Do get in touch for more information, either via the Facebook page or by contacting


Postponed until October - Jellyfish thinking, Art and HD - Presentation, Film & Discussion

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In partnership with the Exchange Gallery, Penzance, Hypatia artist Bryony Gillard will explore the relationships between art and literature, peripheral landscapes, female experience, and creativity, drawing on the writings of the Modernist poet, and Isle of Scilly resident, H.D. 

Bryony will talk about her recent moving image work, A cap like water, transparent, fluid yet with definite body (2018), recently presented at Tate St.Ives in Virginia Woolf: An exhibition inspired by her writings. The event will also include a screening of the film.

Bryony Gillard’s practice is situated between writing and art practices that draw on the notion of ‘constant revision’, and states of being in which structures or ideas can be subverted, dissolved or questioned. Her work often focuses on marginalised Herstories and practices — addressing historic imbalances and reflecting upon practices, approaches and ideas that refuse to be pinned down or categorised.

October 13th, 7-9pm. More information about this event here.

Payment by donation.

HYPE Women Social - 14th June 2018, 7pm

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HYPE Women Social


Inviting like-minded women interested in making things happen at the Hypatia Trust's new premises in Chapel street; use the Hypatia collections, energise the archive, help organise events that promote women. Come along from 7pm.

This is a social event and opportunity to meet other people, who make, research, read or write, to get together and make a creative agenda. We have tea, bring cake!

More information here.

' the Ends of the Earth' - A Talk by Frida Go - 31st May 2018

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Frida Go tells of a tale of love, loss, science and wild adventure, in the footsteps of her grandmother Kathleen. In 1913, Kathleen sailed to New Zealand to meet her husband Captain Robert Falcon Scott only to hear that he had died amidst Antarctic snows. Boiling with the same blood, a century later Frida too washed up, broken-hearted, on New Zealand shores. Through film, sculpture and photo-poetry Zoe Young explores the epigenetic legacy for women left behind when hero husbands don't come home. 

Admission by donation. Limited space available - please email to book.

For more information visit:

A Festival of Women and Wellness - 26th May 2018

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Celebrating and supporting the well-being, vitality and tenacity of women in Cornwall!

The Hypatia Trust is delighted to be hosting this exciting event from Inspire Sirens at our new premises in Chapel Street, Penzance. Open to all, following a 9-10am beach clean in association with Plastic Free Penzance, this event promises yoga, dance, poetry, sculpture, wildflowers, vegan feasts, raw choc, cocoa ceremony, massage, organic facials, kids workshops, music and more...

All workshops are free with a donation based entry at the door (suggested donation of £5-£10), but spaces are limited for each workshop so be sure to come early!

Find out more here.

Hypatia Trust wins National Lottery support, Morrab stable re-build planning to go ahead.



A community-based team of local Penzance civic societies, working with local authorities as partners, has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for The Gardeners’ House project, it was announced this week.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to create a community resource and learning centre focusing on Cornwall’s significant contribution internationally to natural history and the environment. Development funding of up to £70,100 has been awarded to help the Hypatia Trust (Registered charity 1060663) to progress plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. The Hypatia Trust itself, due to the legacy gift of an American donor, the late Dr Elspeth Pope of Shelton, Washington, will also be donating a substantial sum toward the total required.

Together with the dedicated Friends of Morrab Gardens and the Pengarth Day Centre for older people, plans include an eco-friendly rebuild of the partially derelict stables, lying beside the famed Morrab Library. Working with the Head Gardener, Joe Palmese and his team, many new opportunities for social enterprise, research, school visits, garden-craft workshops, mentoring and training for all ages will be on offer. 

Primary objectives are to create a readily accessible natural history reading room with unique horticultural and botanical archives gathered by the Hypatia Trust, an educational charity based in Penzance. It will create an archive on Morrab Gardens’ history, its contribution to society, and the people, past and present, who engaged with it. 

The project aims to carry out essential conservation work, digitise collections, join them through a single web portal, allowing on-line public access to significant local collections for the first time. An educational programme of related activities incorporating experimental gardens and an open-air laboratory for citizen science, is also planned. 

Melissa Hardie, project leader and Hypatia Trust director, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that with the help of De Facto Development Consultants of Falmouth, our application has received the welcome support of the National Lottery. Many helpers – near, far and wide - already have contributed ideas and initial support toward the proposed transformation of this historically important ‘lost asset’. We look forward to the new life and use it will bring to these much-loved public gardens.” 
Penzance Mayor Dick Cliffe commented further, “This project is a great step forward for the Hypatia Trust here in Penzance, it is a very welcome investment in a moribund part of Morrab Gardens and it is a successful first step in what should become a sustainable Morrab Gardens regeneration project.” 

Councillor Olivier, Cornwall Councillor for Penzance Central, said: “This is great news and I am confident that this new community resource and learning centre will be of great benefit to the local community and visitors to the area.”

Councillor James, Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection, said: “I am extremely pleased that the funding has been granted for this project and look forward to seeing this important local asset being brought back into the heart of the community.”

About the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported

*Heritage Grants (HG) applications are assessed in two rounds. The Gardener’s House project has initially been granted round one development funding of £70,100 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £722,000

Obituary for one of Hypatia's trusted friends...

We join with the whole of the community of Cornwall who knew and loved her, the sad news of the death of our former Lord Lieutenant, Dame Mary Holborow DVCO. As Lady Mary she served Cornwall’s people in so many ways that it exhausts in the telling – but what must be said is that throughout her life of doing good and worthwhile things in public and private ways, she was always kind, empathetic, generous and focused on the job at hand. Her sense of humour was a joy. She was not only a natural leader but also a natural friend. Though the Trust played only a small part in her very busy and high-profile life, she never failed to respond to an appeal for help or guidance, and we can only be thankful that we came to know and respect her place in our lives. She made the world a better place. Our sympathies go out to her family and especially her daughter Kate, and son Crispen.

 Lady Mary Holborow

Lady Mary Holborow

International Women's Day, Wednesday 8th March 2017

Celebrate International Women's Day with the Hypatia Trust on Wednesday 8th March, 11am-4pm at our new offices at The Regent, Lower ground floor, 54 Chapel Street, Penzance. 

All welcome to drop in for a chat, browse our new space, leaf through the women's reference library (it's a bibliophiles dream) and see the Wikipedia Editathon in action (2pm-4pm) continuing our campaign to spread knowledge about the deeds of Cornish women through the world's biggest free source of information. #internationalwomensday #beboldforchange

The Hypatia Trust teams up with Wikimedia in landmark initiative.

Ever heard of Litz Pisk? Try searching for her on Wikipedia - "The page Litz Pisk does not exist." 

Born in Vienna 1909, and died St Ives, Cornwall 1997, Litz is widely regarded as the finest and most influential teacher of modern theatre movement, sadly she is one of the very many great women currently not listed on Wikipedia - however thanks to a partnership between The Hypatia Trust and Wikimedia UK all that's about to change... 

The Hypatia Trust teams up with Wikimedia UK in landmark initiative:

The Hypatia Trust and Wikimedia UK announces a brand new partnership today. Hypatia and Wikimedia UK will work together on a project to rebalance the English-language Wikipedia by training new editors in writing and editing biographical articles on Cornwall and Scilly’s great women.

The Hypatia Trust has appointed Dr. Tehmina Goskar, museum consultant and historian, as its first Wikimedian in Residence to coordinate the project and act as an ambassador for promoting free and open access to information and knowledge on women and Cornwall.

Based in the Hypatia Trust’s Elizabeth Treffry Reading Room in Krowji, Redruth, Tehmina will assemble a team of new editors, create a list of women who are currently underrepresented on Wikipedia and provide access to Hypatia’s special collection of over 3000 books and articles on women’s lives, works and achievements.

Wikipedia is the sixth most visited website in the world (after Google, YouTube, Facebook, Baidu and Yahoo) and considered to be one of the most influential sources of information in the world. However the encyclopaedia suffers from significant underrepresentation of women both as editors and as the subject of articles.

Worryingly, of nearly 1.5 million biographies only 16.6% are of women whereas women make up 51% of the population. And nearly all the biographies of people before 1900 are of men.

Women are also poorly represented in the editorship of Wikipedia with most articles are written by men, and dominating its policies on categorisation, notability and referencing. Women are thought to comprise less than 17% of editors on the English-language Wikipedia.

This project will meet one of Wikimedia UK’s strategic goals of addressing inequality in Wikimedia projects, with a particular focus on the gender gap and geographical bias. The charity will be supporting this project by providing advice and training to support the residency and a new network of editors.

Tehmina Goskar, Wikimedian in Residence, says: “This is just the beginning of a landmark project to redress the imbalance of male-dominated narratives of Cornwall and Cornishness. It is the result of two internationally-minded organisations who have the common aim to improve humanity’s access to knowledge—especially that of the poorly represented.”

Daria Cybulska, Head of Programmes and Evaluation, says: “As the national chapter for the global Wikimedia movement we believe that open access to knowledge is a fundamental right, and a driver for social and economic development. We are delighted to be working with the Hypatia Trust on this important project, which feeds into our overall commitment of increasing online coverage of diverse cultures, heritage and history. We are hoping that we will be able to draw parallels between this initiative and our other projects on Welsh and Scots Gaelic heritage.” Listen to Tehmina talk to Julie Skentelbery about the project on BBC Radio Cornwall, Tehm features at 38 minutes in. 

 Litz Pisk

Litz Pisk