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“Who are our heroines”

By November 12, 2021November 19th, 2023No Comments

Here is a report from our meeting on Friday 8th October, the report was written by our Press Officer Mr Mike Darke.
The second of Mytholmroyd Historical Society’s Winter programme of illustrated talks was given last Friday evening in St Michael’s Church Hall before an audience of about 37 people.
The speaker was Amy Binns who gave an interesting and at times amusing talk on “Who are our heroines”.
The audience before the talk were asked to submit a couple of heroines of their choice and at the end of the talk it was revealed that their choices by and large corresponded with the choices of other people elsewhere.
Amy first of all centred on the decision of how we decide a heroine and not surprisingly most regard Joan of Arc as the first heroine for her act of bravery, chivalry and death at the stake in Rouen.
However, it was the success of the Suffragette movement in the UK after WW1 that led in the early 1930’s to the growth of pageants and it first started with Cicely Hamilton’s “Pageant of Great Women”. This pageantry toured Britain with women dressed up in various costumes as various women “warriors” and gave rise to women historically being very important and to the growth of revisionism where for example, the re-writing of history books now recognised the role that women had played over past centuries .
The initial Cicely Hamilton pageant led to the emergence of local pageants (Amy referred to even a Historical cutting she had found at Birchcliffe Baptist Chapel referring to several local pageants) which depicted the historical role of women. These pageants as mentioned earlier were in costume often acquired from other national chapels or churches.
The non-conformist chapels were often the vanguard of this historical revisionism because it was perhaps more politically and socially conscious and often connected with the need for economic and social change such as the Chartist movement.
These pageants, tableaux etc. assisted the re -writing of history books to recognise the historical role of women whether it be biblical, Royalist or social or economic based and today in the modern world no one now questions the role women have played historically or indeed at present.
We will leave it to you the reader of this article to think of the role women have played in history and therefore, this article deliberately avoids highlighting any individual women but we are sure you can think of many whatever, the category. They could range for example, from Amy Johnson the Aviator to Queen Boadicea.
A vote of thanks was given by Margaret Collinge.
Our next Speaker is Kim Pearson whose talk is on the “Waifs of Wainstalls”.
As usual the Society meets the second Friday of each month at 7. 30 pm. St Michael’s Church Hall, New Road, Mytholmroyd. Members and non-members( £3.00) welcome

Mike Darke Press Secretary