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Shared Learning Project with Royal Holloway, University of London – Citizens: 800 Years in the Making

Citizens: 800 Years in the making: exploring the history of
liberty, protest, power and rebellion

Citizens is a three year project being run by Royal Holloway which will launch in January 2017. The aim is to create a website that explores the history of liberty, protest, rebellion and reform from Magna Carta to the Suffragettes and beyond. This site, promoted especially to teachers and school pupils, will help visitors understand and learn how and why people’s rights and their relationship with the state has changed; how people have challenged authority; how governments have responded to such challenges; and how Parliament and parliamentary democracy have evolved. With your help, Royal Holloway plans to identify, map and share the stories, discovered by U3A members, to build up a picture of how communities have contributed to our democratic heritage.

U3A members will be playing a vital role, highlighting local stories, figures, movements. Here in London, for example, members will look at the relevant history of a particular borough which has contributed to this eight century long struggle to define, defend and extend rights and liberty. Here in Battersea, you may like to research the Putney Debates or the central role Battersea played in the early days of British Socialism – for example,names such as Charlotte Despard, John Burns and John Archer.

This is a more flexible form of Shared Learning Project than we have been used to in London as members will be asked to work in small, local groups or on their own on their chosen topic and then come together for meetings every eight weeks when they can discuss their progress and raise any questions. The meetings will be held at Senate House, University of London National Archives in Kew, and the first briefing meeting will be on Monday 16th January 2017.

If the project interests you but you would like some suggestions as to research topics, please sign up and come along to the first meeting to hear Dr. Matthew Smith’s proposals. Matthew will also be able to give you a letter of introduction to your local museum. If you haven’t found anyone with whom to work, come and find a group you can join. If you are at all interested or have any queries, please email Jennifer Anning, the U3A Co-ordinator of the project.

Please click on link below for more information


Jennifer Anning, National SLP Co-ordinator




The early history of Women’s Pioneer Housing

Background: WW1 saw the campaign for equal voting rights with men put on ice. Women instead took on the work men had been doing, jobs it was once thought far beyond the mental and physical capacity of women. Peace came at a price. Wartime casualties had left one in three women with no means of support but millions of women were being laid off to make jobs available to ‘returning heroes’. Those desperate to hold on to their job, or to find work to support themselves, flooded the agencies that had placed women in jobs during the conflict. High on the list of what they desperately needed was a decent place they could call home. Etheldred Browning, an Anglo-Irish suffragist who had recently moved to London, observed that in central London many large houses, designed to function on the back of cheap female labour, now lay empty. Women in the war years had tried alternatives to the badly paid, long hours of domestic drudgery. They weren’t going back to it. Etheldred came up with a plan to buy the houses cheaply and convert them into self-contained flats for women. Her tenants could decorate them to their own tastes, the rents would be moderate and there’d be no silly bars on visitors. Despite some very hairy moments, the new ‘Women’s PIoneer Housing’ proved a success with the active support of a network of veterans from the women’s suffrage movement. Old records recently found in Women’s Pioneer’s safe read like a Who’s Who of the suffragist movement, spanning Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. They reveal too that the women who supported her project or were housed or employed by it, included some of the first to qualify in professions where women are now accepted as the norm. What we have found is a forgotten chapter in suffrage history that shows how the suffragists turned skills honed campaigning for the vote to another practical purpose, helping protect and progress advances women were making in the workplace. We have a cracking story to tell but need help properly researching it.

The project: We need help:

reading through archive material to draw up an accurate record of who did what and when. The material will be digitally scanned so this can be done on a computer at home.
researching individual women to find out more about their lives, specifically: their family background, their education/training, the work they did (paid or unpaid) up to and during the 1920s/30s. A lot of this can be done at home using geneology websites (we’re paying for the subscription) or at the Women’s Library, National Archives, university archives or from online archive material provided by trade bodies. Photos would be a huge plus.
researching one or more professions that opened up to women post-WW1 or that changed significantly (new technology/materials or much tighter professional standards). What factors helped or hindered women’s progress (for example new laws) and how was the contribution of women valued and rewarded compared with that of men. Again archives, universities and trade bodies may help. Family anecdotes welcome!
You should apply if:

you are interested in the suffrage movement and/or a period of British history that spans the final years of the struggle for Irish independence, world war one and interwar politics
you are comfortable using the internet and are up to the challenge of trying to get information from geneology websites, where names are often misspelt or a search one day will throw up information that failed, using exactly the same tactics, the day before
you enjoy detective work, making discoveries and joining the dots in a complex puzzle
you have time to spare for our project during April, May and June
you can attend two meetings in April (dates to be decided)
you are willing to produce reports detailing what you found and where, including full details of your sources and who, if anyone, is to be credited for information and/or images.
Venues: The first meeting will be held at Women’s Pioneer’s offices in White City at 227 Wood Lane, London W12 0EX (nearest tube station is White City, Central line). The second will be held at the Women’s Library at the London School of Economics, 10 Portugal Street, Holborn, London WC2A 2HD (nearest tube is Holborn, Central and Piccadilly lines). Additional research may need to be done at the National Archives (Richmond Road, Twickenham TW9 (nearest station: Kew Gardens overground), the British Library and
Royal Holloway/University of London. Most other research can be done online.

Questions and applications by Tuesday 28 February or earlier to:

Lisa Thompson 01732 750 433 Or text 07885 519 117

Jo Walters 01689 854880. Or text 07713916620

Dionne Antrobus 020 8749 7112

Pioneers of Women’s Housing SLP


Tuesday, February 21st 10.30 – 3.30

Speakers have been invited from Ely’s, John Lewis, Bentalls and Tudor Williams. There will be a display and a report from a Shared Learning Project looking at the same topic, with historical pictures and records of memo- ries of our areas.
Venue; Richard Mayo Hall, United Re- formed Church, Eden Street, Kingston upon Thames.

Cost £8: includes tea, coffee and biscuits on arrival and free (finger food) light
buffet lunch !
Send your cheque, for £8, made payable to Richmond U3A and say which U3A you are in, plus your name and email
to: Jen Cobb,
286 Merton Rd, SW18 5JN You must enclose a s.a.e for confirmation if no email address!

Tea, coffee and biscuits on arrival for registration from 10.30 t0 11am. Session starts 11 a.m and finishes 3.30p.m.

Please cut out the form below and send it to the address above .

I would like to attend the study Day on February 21st. I am enclosing a cheque for £8 payable to Richmond U3A. My U3A is…………………………………………..
My name is……………………………………………………………………………………………………. My dietary requirements are……………………………………………………………………………. My phone number is………………………………………………………………………………………. My email is…………………………………………………….Or I am enclosing a SAE.


flyer for shops study day

A Shared Learning Project on the History of the Local Shops and Shopping in SW London

 U3As  of SW London (Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Wandsworth and Hammersmith and Fulham)  A Shared Learning Project on the history of the local shops and shopping in SW London

We are looking for a team to research the history of some of our local shops and the changes to shopping in SW London. The findings from the project will form part of a Study Day next February for our members on the history of shops and shoppers in SW London.

This may interest anyone who:

  • Has lived in the area and seen the changes in our shops from local family stores to High Street chains.
  • Has served in local shops in the past either temporarily or in a permanent position.
  • Has, or still does, own a shop.
  • Has an interest in the social history of the different centres of SW London

Members of the team will

  • Need to be available during October and November  for the project
  • Need to attend all meetings, if possible, on Oct 4,18 Nov 1,15 29.
  • Be able to be contacted by email
  • Have a minimum competency in the use of IT
  • Be available in February to help in putting up the exhibition of the project or help in the presentation at the Study Day


To apply

For an application form contact Sue Leigh by email:

Closing date for application: 10 Sept 2016.

Shared Learning Projects – Explanation !

If you are interested in research and want to work with other people on topics that interest you, then a Shared Learning Project could be the thing for you.

These Projects are agreed with an organization or institute (such as a museum, art gallery, library, stately home or charity) and focus on activity that will be stimulating to the participants and of benefit to the institution involved.   Projects may also be set up by U3As together to explore a local theme or topic.

Since they started 12 years ago, London Region members have participated in over 50 projects in partnership with a variety of organizations from the British Film Institute to the Foundling Museum. Subjects have included nursing, family and social history, education, archeology, natural history and historic buildings. A list indicating range of projects undertaken can be found on the U3A national website.   Research subjects have included social and local history, archaeology, natural history, music and literature.  There have also been some evaluation projects. A list indicating the range of projects undertaken can be found on the U3A national website

The projects last for twelve weeks and a group of twelve or so people are recruited from U3As across London to work together. Members of the team carry out agreed research individually or in pairs and meet fortnightly to share their work. There is usually a presentation at the end and the outcome of the work is written up as a report or leaflet or sometimes the material is placed on a website.  

See link for more details