HISTORY 51: ORIGINS
Cornwall and Scilly are 51% women.
Did you know that there are nearly 275,000 women living in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly today? Women make up 51% of our population and yet, unlike their fathers, husbands, partners and sons we know very little about their lives and achievements. Their names are often lost through marriage, and their education, property, financial and parental rights, as well as equality at work have been severely limited until well into the 20th century. Try to look them up in history books and the pickings are slim.
WE FIND WOMEN'S VOICES & COLLECT THEM
The Elizabeth Treffry Collection exists to right this wrong. It contains over 3000 books and archives that document the lives and works of the women who have shaped history, art and literature in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Its current strengths are in 19th and 20th century art and literature.
WHAT IS HISTORY 51?
History 51 ran from December 2012-December 2013.
History 51 was a public engagement project based on the stories of Women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
It was funded by a £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund ‘All Our Stories’ grant.
WISE WOMEN: HISTORY 51 ROADSHOW
WHY HISTORY 51 IS IMPORTANT
In narratives of Cornish history, women's lives are often overlooked or shrouded in generalities of supporting men in the traditional occupations of mining, fishing, fighting and farming. The exceptions are mostly uncherished and forgotten.
The Elizabeth Treffry Collection of the Hypatia Trust works to reveal the lives and accomplishments of historical and contemporary women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. This project aimed to help local and global audiences unveil the stories of their female ancestors—the 51%--and get involved in creating, discovering and sharing resources for Cornish and Scillonian women’s heritage for the first time.
WHAT HISTORY 51 ACHIEVED
History 51 helped people to explore the multiple stories and voices of women contained in the Elizabeth Treffry Collection. It invited volunteers to choose from a range of subjects and personalities, and research, catalogue and author content about them. We provided free training on how to form and share the stories they unveiled in a new online database called the Cornish Women's Index, which is in late stages of preparation.
Contributors created their own narratives of women they found in the collection. We estimate that currently there are at least 600 women represented by the collection, with more to come. Participants also created digital assets such as images, transcripts and audio-visual material. We needed new community ambassadors for the collection so we invited our volunteer team to talk about their discoveries online by blogging for us, writing news for their local paper, recording interviews and taking part in our workshops.
HISTORY 51 WORKSHOPS
Call to Women, part of the Judith Cook Archive
Through their work with the Elizabeth Treffry Collection the people who contributed to History 51 became experts themselves. We wanted all contributors to feel empowered to communicate the heritage they unveiled to new audiences. We facilitated and co-organized a series of six workshops led by the contributors on themes they had chosen, including art, writing, science, campaigning, business and education. We invited a contemporary woman working in each of these fields to provide a contrast between historic and modern experiences so that the contributors themselves could benefit from a better understanding of their area or person of interest. Our workshops were geographically spread around the county of Cornwall. These were exceedingly well subscribed, with waiting lists in most