Women Who Shaped Manchester is a new exhibition, perfectly placed in the John Ryland Library, a neo-Gothic building in the heart of Deansgate, founded by the philanthropist Enriqueta Ryland in 1900, as a memorial to her late husband and a gift to the people of Manchester, and oh what a gift! The exhibition itself is inspired by the extraordinary lives of some of our cities most historic heroines, and has been meticulously curated from within the library’s luminescent collection of rare books, letters, diaries and manuscripts. Some names will be more than familiar, from suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst and Enriqueta Ryland herself, to other unsung voices who’s trail blazing endeavours have been confined to the margins of our history books. Like Catherine Chisholm, the first female medic of Manchester University, who pioneered medical care for children. Or Madeline Linford, who became the first female journalist at The Guardian, after reporting from Europe at the end of WW1. Walking now through this utterly breath taking building, I am transported back to a time when women should be seen and not heard, and it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the lengths these women have taken, refusing to be intimidated by impossible odds, in order to transform our city and alter the course of it’s history.
Thu 6 Sep – Sun 10 Mar 2019, The John Ryland Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester. Tel: 0161 306 0555. Free entry, www.library.manchester.ac.uk
Published on: Thu 18 Oct 2018