For some International Women's Day inspired reading, check out our list of amazing women who have helped shaped Bristol. 

Black and white photo of a woman on a horse being led by a man
Image - Adela Breton with her guide in Mexico, Pablo Solorio. Courtesy of Bristol Museums. 

Adela Breton – Explorer

Adela, brought up in nearby Bath, was no normal Victorian woman – she travelled Mexico extensively, visiting archaeological sites and documenting her findings through watercolour paintings.

Peaches Golding - Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Bristol 

The daughter of American civil rights activist Dr Charles Brady Hauser became the first black female Lord Lieutenant in 2017. In 2010 she was made the first black High Sheriff in England. 

Hannah More – Philanthropist

Born in Fishponds in 1745, Hannah was a passionate religious writer notable for her campaigns against the slave trade and efforts to educate those who could not normally afford it. She set up the first school in Brislington at Keepers Cottage on Brislington Hill – a blue plaque marks the spot.

Elizabeth Blackwell – Doctor

Bristol-born Elizabeth moved to the US to work as a teacher, but ended up becoming the first woman to qualify as a doctor in America.

Leotta Goodridge – Community leader

‘Leo’ or the ‘Queen of St Pauls’ as she was known locally, was a tireless champion of equality and social justice in Bristol. She was one of the founding members of Bristol City Council Race Forum and devoted her life to helping those most in need.

Mary Carpenter – Social reformer

Mary Carpenter brought the gift of education to disadvantaged children and young offenders in Bristol who had previously been denied it. You can pay your respects at Arnos Vale Cemetery.

Angela Berners-Wilson – Priest

Angela was the first woman to become a Church of England priest – she was one of 32 women ordained at Bristol Cathedral on 12 March 1994 by Bishop Barry Rogerson. 

Helen Dunmore – Author

The first person ever to win the Orange Prize for Fiction - in 1996 for A Spell of Winter - Helen has since published many successful novels, short stories, poems and children’s books. Her latest work, Birdcage Walk, is inspired by Bristol’s history of radicalism.

Carmen Beckford – Race Relations Officer

As well as being Bristol’s first Race Relations Officer, Carmen was one of the founders of St Pauls Carnival and the first black person to receive an MBE in the South West. She is one of the Seven Saints of St Pauls.

Sarah Guppy – Engineer  

Sarah Guppy was an engineer, inventor, designer, writer, environmental campaigner, and the first woman in the world to register a patent for a bridge in Bristol in 1811.  Born  Sarah Maria Beech in Birmingham in 1770, she married Bristol merchant Samuel Guppy and spent most of the rest of her life in the city.  Her other patents include a 'tea and coffee urn' that also cooked eggs and kept toast warm, and a bed that doubled as a private gym. To learn more about this amazing woman, why not go on a Crime and Crinolines Tour with Bristol theatre company, Show of Strength. Sarah Guppy died in 1852 and her grave was in a state of disrepair until Show of Strength fundraised to have it restored - it will be 'unveiled' on Saturday March 25th at 11am in St Andrew's Churchyard, Clifton.

Louise Mitchell - Ambassador for Music and the Arts

Louise Mitchell CBE, the chief executive of Bristol Beacon is a tenacious ambassador for the arts nationally and internationally. She has dedicated her career to opening up the world of music, in particular classical music, to wide and diverse new audiences. She is overseeing the current transformation and full-scale refurbishment of Bristol Beacon, which is due to open this Autumn as one of the best and most accessible performance and music education venues in Europe

Claudia Fragapane – Gymnast

The Longwell Green artistic gymnast has been raking in the accolades since the 2014 Commonwealth Games. There she became the first English woman to win four gold medals since swimmer Joyce Cooper (84 years previously) and was subsequently named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.

Annie Kenney – Suffragette

Annie was the only working class woman to be part of the senior hierarchy of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). In 1910 she lived at 23 Gordon Road, Clifton – a blue plaque marks the address. You can also see where fellow suffragette, Lady Emmeline Pethwick Lawrence, was born at 20 Charlotte Street, Brandon Hill.

Ellen Sharples – Artist

Ellen was an eminent portrait painter. She exhibited at the Royal Academy and founded Bristol Fine Arts Academy in 1844 with a substantial donation, which went onto establish the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton. 

Fran Wilson England International Cricketer 

Cricketer for England, Western Storm & Middlesex, Fran grew up playing cricket in the West Country and also coaches Gloucestershire CCC’s girls in Bristol in the winter. In 2017, she helped England win the Women's Cricket World Cup - the first World Cup in which all participating players were fully professional. 

May Christophera Stavely – University of Bristol teacher

May Christophera Stavely, born 14 May 1863, was a tutor to women students at the University of Bristol. With May's help, a committee was formed to raise funds to buy Clifton Hill House and establish it as the first women's halls of residence at the University of Bristol, when the house became available in 1909. Staveley died at Clifton Hill House in 1934. Her popularity was such that the Quaker funeral was held on a Saturday to allow university staff and students to attend.