An exhibition showcasing celebrating the role of women in Lichfield’s past is taking place in the city.

Members of the Wayward Women group with some of their blue plaques
Members of the Wayward Women group with some of their blue plaques

It has been put together by Wayward Women, a local history group formed in 2019 after being inspired by the Rosie’s Plaques movement which challenges the imbalance in the public recognition of achievements.

Of the more than 4,500 blue plaques across the UK, only around 12% commemorate the lives and achievements of women.

The group set about creating their own plaques to honour notable females from the city’s past – and they will now go on display at The Hub at St Mary’s until 8th May.

A spokesperson for Wayward Women said:

“Some people may have seen the plaques that were briefly displayed around the city. Some were taken down because, following the Norwich model, we sought to stimulate public interest by not asking permission in advance.”

Wayward Women spokesperson

There will also be an event on 5th May when Prof Ann Hughes will discuss how women have been hidden from history.

Douglas Armour, gallery co-ordinator at The Hub at St Mary’s, said:

“We are delighted to be hosting the Wayward Women of Lichfield.

“It is a great opportunity to celebrate the contributions of some of our city’s unsung female heroes.”

Douglas Armour, The Hub at St Mary’s

Entry to the exhibition is free, with tickets to the 5th May talk costing £5. To book or find out more visit www.thehubstmarys.

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6 Comments

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  1. Hope it all goes well and I look forward to an exhibition to highlight the achievements of men in Lichfield. Can’t wait!

  2. It’s not just the statues of Johnson and Boswell in the market square – as already highlighted by John Griffin – that already highlight the achievements of men in or near Lichfield, of course (assuming we can claim Boswell). There’s the new statue of Saint Chad in the cathedral close, all of the statues of bishops of Lichfield and Mercian kings on the west front of the cathedral, the statue of Erasmus Darwin in Beacon Park, and the other Beacon Park statue of Titanic captain Edward Smith (alright, not so much an ‘achievement’ – and he was from Stoke). And then there are the signs identifying David Garrick’s birthplace on Bird Street and Elias Ashmole’s birthplace on Breadmarket Street.

    The only public statues of women I know of in Lichfield are all on the Cathedral’s west front, though as far as I can tell none of them have a direct Lichfield, south Staffordshire, or Mercian connection; a small number were, however, sculpted by women (full list of Lichfield cathedral west front statues here: https://statues.vanderkrogt.net/object.php?webpage=ST&record=gbwm025).

    So on balance, I’d say us men are already doing fairly well when it comes to having our local achievements highlighted. Women… well, we’re perhaps underperforming a bit. Do we even have a proper public monument to Anna Seward (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Seward)? I don’t remember one offhand, though happy to be corrected. If not, that does seem a bit of a gap.

  3. If we’re talking statues, my favourite local example is the pit pony in Burntwood. Ironic that it’s in the fresh air and sunshine/rain when many of the ponies spent their lives underground. Meanwhile, the lack of statues dedicated to women should be addressed, and I agree with Sahure that Anna Seward would be an excellent candidate, but I’m sure there are others too. Perhaps we should have a list of candidates and a vote on who should be first.

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