To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first women getting the right to vote in the UK on 6 February 2018, we’ve put together a list featuring some of the amazing women who have helped shape the city...

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. Bristol Cathedral are welcoming visitors from 8am-5pm on 6 February to light a candle to commemorate the centenary of the introduction of women’s suffrage and to remember and pray for the women who are important in our city and lives.

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  

The Bristol mum of six's designs were fundamental to the building of Clifton Suspension Bridge, despite the fact Isambard Kingdom Brunel is now credited with its construction – she even gave him her plans for free. To learn more about this amazing woman, look out for An audience with Sarah Guppy in June - a new play by Sheila Hannon in partnership with Show of Strength about an unsung inventor and designer.

Romy Gill – Chef

Chef Romy owns an award-winning Indian restaurant, Romy's Kitchen, in Thornbury and recently received an MBE for her services to the hospitality industry. She is also known for her charitable work. 

Claudia Fragapane – Gymnast

Still only 20 years old, 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. Make sure you see their current exhibition, Women of the RWA at the RWA (until 11 March) which marks the impact of female artists on our country’s artistic landscape.

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. Read our interview with Fran here.

The struggle of Bristol suffragettes is to be commemorated in a series of events launched by Bristol Women’s Voice starting with a lantern parade on Tuesday 6 February through the city centre to mark 100 years since the first women were allowed to vote in the UK. Read more about their events programme for the year here.

Related

Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust
Cemetery/Mausoleum
Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust

Step into a secret world and discover 45 green acres where the history of Bristol is told in a leafy and tranquil setting.

Clifton Suspension Bridge
Historic Site
Clouds over Bridge

The world famous bridge and the iconic symbol of Bristol, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1831 and completed in 1864 after his death

Royal West of England Academy
Gallery
Royal West of England Academy of Arts Ruffin-Ferraby-Taylor-LLP

Bristol's first art gallery, housing over 1200 works of art from 19th century to the present day, a coffee shop and a small gift shop.

Bristol Cathedral
Cathedral/Minster
Bristol Cathedral

Much more than a fascinating building, being a fine example of a hall church, it is a centre of Bristol's history, civic life and culture.