Women in Manchester’s Edwardian parks 1900 – 1935

O'Reilly, C ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7792-344X 2009, Women in Manchester’s Edwardian parks 1900 – 1935 , in: Women's Life and Leisure in the Twentieth Century, 25/11/09, Staffordshire University. (Unpublished)

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This paper examines women’s use of public parks in Edwardian Manchester. It addresses both leisure and non-leisure activities. Like many cities at this time, Manchester City Council was investing in municipal public parks, the high point of which was the purchase of the 650 acre Heaton Park in 1902. Evidence demonstrates that women were some of the earliest users of the new park – both as leisure visitors with or without children, but also as political activists such as suffragettes and members of the temperance movement. The availability of large, open spaces resulted in a reconfiguring of the lives of Edwardian women. The restrictive atmosphere of many Victorian parks with their improving and didactic agendas had begun to ease in the Edwardian period; consequently, the opportunities for women to become active (in the leisure and non-leisure sense) in parks increased also. While the development of sporting amenities such as golf and tennis in public parks often reinforced gender segregation, parks also offered an opportunity for the private female and the public male worlds to interact. Contemporary photographs enable us to speculate about the kinds of women who visited public parks and for what purpose. The flowering of the municipal public park in Manchester in the Edwardian era complemented the gradual increase in the opportunities for women to liberate themselves from the domestic sphere and to develop new roles as users of social spaces.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Themes: Subjects / Themes > D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > HQ1101 Women. Feminism
Memory, Text and Place
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Refereed: No
Depositing User: Dr Carole O'Reilly
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2010 13:41
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 10:33
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/11547

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