To celebrate the achievements of women with a connection to Bath, BRLSI in co-operation with Bath Spa University designed a map with the street names changed to highlight some of the extraordinary women who have lived in Bath over time; including Mary Wollstonecraft, Adela Breton, Catherine Macaulay, Angela Carter, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Caroline Herschel and many more.
From the Bluestockings through to Rosa Luxemburg and from the history of Queen Charlotte and the Women’s Transatlantic Networks right through to interviews with contemporary journalists like Amelia Gentleman and Louisa Waugh the BRLSI YouTube archive celebrates the work of brilliant and single-minded women.
Our Women’s map of Bath celebrates the lives and achievements of extraordinary women have been enormously successful and is part of a wider campaign by the institution to garner more plaques in the city dedicated to female achievement.
Here are just five talks on some of the great women who have lived in Bath over time
MARY SHELLEY (1797–1851)
2018 was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, a novel she began writing before the age of 20, which has achieved worldwide recognition. A letter by Mary proves she was writing the novel while living in Bath in 1816. She also studied painting and attended scientific lectures during her stay but left later that year, after marrying Percy Bysshe Shelley. Their residence was demolished in the 1890s to enlarge the Pump Room, but the floor and basement remain. Mary’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, an advocate of women’s rights, also spent time in Bath early in her life, whilst working as a lady’s companion.
Frankenstein in Bath: a tale of love, secrets and betrayal
In this video Sheila Hannon, co-founder of Bristol’s Show of Strength Theatre Company and creator of the ‘Frankenstein in Bath’ theatre walk, reveals the racy background to how Mary Shelley came to be in Bath at the time she was writing the book. It’s an extraordinary tale involving Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft, Percy’s first wife Harriet Shelley (nee Westbrook), illegitimate children, elopements and more.
ANN RADCLIFFE (1764–1823)
A founder of Gothic fiction, Ann Ward lived in Bath where her father managed a Wedgwood china showroom in Westgate Buildings and later at 22 Milsom Street. In 1787 she married the Reverend William Radcliffe, the owner and editor of the English Chronicle, and moved to London. Her first novel, The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, was published in 1789. Jane Austen refers in Northanger Abbey to her later and very successful novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho.
Ann Radcliffe: Popular Pioneer of Gothic Fiction
In this video Professor Andrew Smith addresses questions about how Radcliffe responded to the French Revolution, to religious ideas, and to eighteenth century ideas about Terror and Horror, and what was her continuing influence on the Gothic tradition in literature and film?
JANE AUSTEN (1775–1817)
One of the greatest names in English Literature, Jane Austen, internationally renowned author of six major novels visited Bath several times during her life, staying at different addresses. On her father’s retirement in 1801, the family lived at 4 Sydney Place until shortly before his death in 1805. Bath features in Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.
Jane Austen and the SlaveTrade (Rediscovering Jane Austen at the BRLSI)
Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, Hampshire, was her final home. Here her genius flourished, and she revised, wrote, and publisned her six beloved novels. In this video Sophie Reynolds, Collections and Interpretations Manager at Chawton, gives a virtual tour of the house through the ages – and a glimpse at some of its treasures.
HANNAH MORE (1745–1833)
Poet, playwright, bluestocking and educational campaigner was the original activist; influential in education and active in the fight to abolish the slave trade. She argued that women were being denied a proper education and started a number of schools for their benefit. Her various books sold exceptionally well.
The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More – and Her Connections with Jane Austen
In this video Paula Hollingsworth discusses the life and works of Hannah More known for her religious writing and her philanthropy. In particular she looks at her connections to Jane Austen.
ANGELA CARTER (1940–1992)
Angela Carter’s reputation continues to grow; as a British writer of magic realism and Gothic fiction, she has been celebrated in recent biographies and in numerous reviews and articles. She received widespread praise for her collection of fairy tales. She lived in Bath from 1972 to 1977 before relocating to London. Sir Christopher Frayling, her biographer and great friend, is supporting the campaign to install a plaque for Carter.
INSIDE THE BLOODY CHAMBER: ANGELA CARTER IN BATH, WITH SIR CHRISTOPHER FRAYLING
Christopher Frayling knew Angela Carter well during the1970s when she lived in Bath. They shared a deep interest in Gothic fiction and visual art – seeing Nosferatu together, visiting the Fuseli exhibition at the Royal Academy, watching the opera Der Freishutz in Bristol, and fantasising about the more Gothic aspects of Bath history. In this illustrated lecture which originally appeared as part of our ‘Bath’s Gothic Fiction’ conference, Sir Christopher evokes those years and takes a look at some of the secrets hidden inside The Bloody Chamber Carter’s great feminist reforging of the traditional fairy tale.