“Take courage, join hands, and stand beside us.”

Christmas has come to WSA Library…



Fig. 1: Book tree and ‘Snow-fragette’ at WSA Library.


The evenings are drawing in and winter is fast approaching. The end of term is already in sight and soon the holidays will be upon us.

2018 has been a significant year for WSA Library. We’ve said goodbye to two much-loved colleagues, and three members of our team have celebrated 20 years service. We’ve created a new collection of graphic novels and collaborated with artists’ book makers such as Pete Kennedy and Sarah Bodman to develop our collections and exhibit exciting new works. We’ve celebrated the 10th anniversary of our knitting conference In the Loop with a special conference In the Loop 10, and our Head Librarian (as part of the Arts Strategy Group) was shortlisted for a Vice Chancellor’s award for ‘Public Engagement and Outreach’.

2018 marks some significant anniversaries in women’s history. It’s 200 years since Emily Bronte was born, and since Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus were published. It’s 175 years since the last woman (Sarah Dazley) was publicly executed and 50 years since female machinists at Ford’s Dagenham works went on strike in protest for equal pay.

This year is also the centenary of the first women in Britain being given the vote and the opportunity to stand as members of parliament.



Fig 2: “Votes for Women week in Southampton, 1911” from The Women’s Library Flickr. No known copyright restrictions. https://www.flickr.com/photos/lselibrary/24606518058/in/album-72157660822880401/


Women’s history features prominently in our collections. In addition to collections of books on female artists and designers, feminism and women’s history, our Knitting Reference Library contains valuable sources of women’s history such as women’s magazines, household manuals and even copies of Spare Rib and Votes for Women.

We’ve decided to use women’s history and in particular Vote 100 as our theme for Christmas at WSA 2018. Our book tree has been built using books from our feminist and women’s history collections, and is topped by an Emily Wilding Davison angel. We also have a ‘snow-fragette’ and paper-chains made using suffragette colours.


Combined for blog

Fig 3.: ‘Snow-fragette’, Emily Wilding Davison angel and paperchains at WSA Library.


The political climate may be full of uncertainty and we don’t know exactly what 2019 will bring, but we do know that WSA Library will still be here supporting our community, and we already have some exciting plans for 2019.

And so, to quote Christabel Pankhurst: “Take courage, join hands, and stand beside us.”


If you’d like to explore female artists and designers, feminism and/or women’s history within our collections, search our catalogue Library Search.