Visit a small free, public exhibition celebrating Nancy Astor, the first female member of parliament in the UK, on the University Library building’s ground floor. This is the latest installation to occupy our new exhibition space created as part of the Library Refurbishment Project, in the foyer beside the Library Cafe, outside card-operated Library entrance barriers.
Kindly funded by the Friends of the University, this exhibition reflects the work on Nancy Astor that Dr Jacqui Turner curated for Parliament’s Vote100 ‘Voice and Vote Exhibition’ in Westminster Hall in 2018 celebrating the centenary of the first women to gain the vote in 1918. Our thanks to the Vote100 Project Management Team for their kind permission to use their materials.
Dr Jacqui Turner is a Reading Lecturer in Modern Political History. Part of her Astor 100 research project work marking 100 years of women MPs, her research of the Nancy Astor Papers, held at the University of Reading Special Collections, has uncovered an array of letters and documents that chart Lady Astor’s career and life. These represent the most comprehensive collection of papers of any female politician. They include political correspondence 1919–1945 and parliamentary papers, general correspondence 1900–1964 and large volumes of newspaper cuttings 1908–1964. American-born, Nancy Astor succeeded her husband as Conservative MP for Plymouth in 1919, becoming the first woman to sit in the House of Commons, and continued until her retirement in 1945.
You can follow Astor100 and see more from the Astor Papers via our Twitter exhibition @LadyAstor 100 ‘An Unconventional MP: the political life on Nancy Astor in 50 documents’. Also, keep up to date with what else is going on, including efforts to raise a statue of Nancy Astor in her Plymouth constituency, via Jacqui’s Twitter feed @Jacqui1918.
Rachel Redrup, Library
with Dr Jacqui Turner