Hidden History, that’s how the BBC described WayfinderWoman’s Women of Eastbourne exhibition currently running at DC1 café and Gallery in Seaside Road, Eastbourne. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, WayfinderWoman was able to recruit and train volunteers to research the hidden history of women who lived in Eastbourne and shaped society as we know it today. They were amazed at what was discovered.
The first, Mary Ann Gilbert, born in 1776 the year of the American War of Independence, released some of her land to set up an innovative and highly criticised scheme to help the rural poor. Her research papers attracted world-wide attention and the allotment system that we know today was born. Another, Marie Corbett was so shocked at the conditions of Eastbourne workhouse that she, along with other ladies, found families that would house them. Foster care was born.
And in this 100th year of women getting the vote, Emily Phipps was one of the first women to stand for Parliament in 1918. Our current famous Eastbourne parliamentarian, Teresa May would have been proud of that!
These women and many more are being celebrated at the child friendly exhibition at DC 1, 67 Seaside Road, which is open every day until 20 January (closed Monday) from 11.00am to 4.00pm. Entry is free. If you cannot get to the exhibition a new website has been launched with details of all of the women researched so far. www.womenofeastbourne.co.uk