Visible in Stone - Women and the built environment

Many of the ways that women have impacted history can still be seen in the buildings and structures around us. This series investigates the period from 1850 to 1950 and shines a light on the way those women still influence our actions today. 

Entering the Political Arena

Access to Education

  • Education for Life

    Educational opportunities for working class girls did exist in the 18th and 19th centuries, but not every child had the time to take part.

  • Secondary Schooling

    The origins of secondary education for middle class girls to gain qualifications and improve their employment possibilities.

  • The Pursuit of Knowledge

    Universities in the UK have existed since the 12th century, but it was only in the 19th century that women were first allowed to complete degrees.

Building a New World

  • Housing: Pioneers of Change

    Octavia Hill developed a housing theory to tackle the blight of urban slums that influenced housing policy for a century.

  • Women's Housing Associations

    Women formed housing associations to tackle the problem of lack of accommodation for single working women.

  • Architects, Builders and Garden Cities

    Despite official barriers to their training as architects women found many ways in which to participate in architectural projects.

  • Gaining Recognition

    Before the Second World War women were gradually becoming involved as architects in the design of houses.

  • Post-War Impact

    In the post-war 1940s women architects were involved in some of the most progressive architectural developments in England.

More About Visible in Stone

Women's History through Buildings 1850-1950. A partnership project between English Heritage, The Women's Library and the TUC Library Collection at London Metropolitan University. Researched and written by Dr Cheryl Law.