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Showing posts from 2018


A Blue Plaque to the Bristol and West of England Women's Suffrage Society will be unveiled on 15 December 2018. Although I've written about the militant suffragettes, why was it so important to me to arrange for a Blue Plaque commemorating the non-militant suffragists?  It’s one hundred years since British women voted in Parliamentary elections for the first time following the enactment of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. The Act gave the vote to some women over thirty, but enfranchised all men over twenty one. It was to be another ten years before women got the vote on equal terms with men. Nevertheless, it was a milestone in British history, and in Bristol and around the country we have been commemorating and celebrating this tremendous step forward in the continuing struggle for gender equality. So you’d think that with all the talks, exhibitions, television and radio programmes, newspaper and magazine articles, there has been plenty of scope to tel

Captain James Cook at the British Library – Exhibition (Updated 17 November 2021)

In August 2018 I saw the British Library exhibition “Captain Cook: The Voyages”. I was particularly interested in it because Cook’s voyages were one of the inspirations behind my first historical novel, To The Fair Land . It was 250 years since Captain Cook set sail from Plymouth on HMS Endeavour on 26 August 1768. The voyage lasted until 1771, and was followed by two further expeditions from 1772 to 1775 and 1776 to 1780. Cook was killed in a skirmish on Hawaii on 14 February 1779.   The voyages were motivated by a combination of scientific curiosity and expansionism. The goal of the first voyage was to observe the Transit of Venus at Tahiti, though it also had another, secret motive. This was the search for the Great Southern Continent, a land mass which was believed to exist in the southern hemisphere. By the end of the second voyage, Cook had proved that the continent did not exist. Though that was disappointing for a Britain looking to extend its empire, there were plenty

Anne and Mary: Pirates!

A guest blog by Helen Hollick Theirs was a harsh life, overshadowed each day by the presence of death, but the lure of gold, the excitement of the Chase – and the freedom that life aboard a pirate ship offered – even for a woman – was worth the risk. Helen has written a series of nautical Voyages based around her fictional pirate, Captain Jesamiah Acorne, and his ship, Sea Witch, but her latest UK release in paperback is a non-fiction book – Pirates: Truth and Tales published by Amberley Press, which explores our fascination with the real pirates and those who are favourites in fiction. Today, Helen drops anchor for another interesting addition to her on-line two-week Voyage around the Blogs with a pirate or two for company… If you were poor, black, or a woman, the early 1700s were not a good place to be. Women had no rights on decision of marriage, no rights over health and well-being, over their children or to legal justice. Women were regarded as possessions. One in f