Bluestockings

Miriam Margolyes reads from Jane Robinson's account of the pioneering British women who overcame all odds to get a university education.

Women had to wait until 1869 before they could enrol at Cambridge University, and even then the odds were stacked against them.

Female brains were considered too small to compete with those of men, and the country's leading doctors warned that if women studied too hard their wombs would wither and die.

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
012009081020110801 (BBC7)
20130422 (BBC7)

Miriam Margolyes reads from Jane Robinson's account of the pioneering British women who overcame all odds to get a university education.

Women had to wait until 1869 before they could enrol at Cambridge University, and even then the odds were stacked against them.

Female brains were considered too small to compete with those of men, and the country's leading doctors warned that if women studied too hard their wombs would wither and die.

This episode tells story of the sacrifices made by the first young women to arrive at Cambridge in 1869, as well as the pioneers who helped to get them there.

And why the first Bluestocking wasn't a woman at all.

The sacrifices made for a university education by the pioneering young women at Cambridge in 1869.

Read by Miriam Margolyes.

The sacrifices made for education by the pioneering young women at Cambridge in 1869.

The sacrifices made for a university education by the pioneering young women at Cambridge in 1869. Read by Miriam Margolyes.

012009081020110801 (BBC7)
20130422 (BBC7)

Miriam Margolyes reads from Jane Robinson's account of the pioneering British women who overcame all odds to get a university education.

Women had to wait until 1869 before they could enrol at Cambridge University, and even then the odds were stacked against them.

Female brains were considered too small to compete with those of men, and the country's leading doctors warned that if women studied too hard their wombs would wither and die.

This episode tells story of the sacrifices made by the first young women to arrive at Cambridge in 1869, as well as the pioneers who helped to get them there.

And why the first Bluestocking wasn't a woman at all.

The sacrifices made for a university education by the pioneering young women at Cambridge in 1869.

Read by Miriam Margolyes.

The sacrifices made for education by the pioneering young women at Cambridge in 1869.

The sacrifices made for a university education by the pioneering young women at Cambridge in 1869. Read by Miriam Margolyes.

0120090811

The sacrifices made by the first young women to arrive at Cambridge University in 1869.

022009081120110802 (BBC7)
20130423 (BBC7)

Faced with the eternal chaperone problem, prejudice from lecturers and the attentions of the so-called 'odd fish', life isn't always easy for the first 'undergraduette'.

Yet while, even as late as 1897, women students at Cambridge face burnt effigies and fireworks being hurled at them, the bluestockings begin, quietly, to make their mark.

Starting to make a mark, the inevitable backlash against the first women university students begins.

Read by Miriam Margolyes.

Starting to make a mark, the backlash against the first women university students begins.

Starting to make a mark, the inevitable backlash against the first women university students begins. Read by Miriam Margolyes.

022009081120110802 (BBC7)
20130423 (BBC7)

Faced with the eternal chaperone problem, prejudice from lecturers and the attentions of the so-called 'odd fish', life isn't always easy for the first 'undergraduette'.

Yet while, even as late as 1897, women students at Cambridge face burnt effigies and fireworks being hurled at them, the bluestockings begin, quietly, to make their mark.

Starting to make a mark, the inevitable backlash against the first women university students begins.

Read by Miriam Margolyes.

Starting to make a mark, the backlash against the first women university students begins.

Starting to make a mark, the inevitable backlash against the first women university students begins. Read by Miriam Margolyes.

0220090812

The bluestockings quietly begin to make their mark.

032009081220110803 (BBC7)
20130424 (BBC7)

The glamour of the graduette and bluestocking fashion.

As the first few decades of university education for women slip by, the image of the drab, maverick bluestocking has begun to metamorphose into a far more luminous creature, the 'undergraduette'.

Suddenly, by the 1920s, women students are quite the thing, and prim bluestocking fashion even takes on a hint of glamour.

Yet, even at Cambridge University in 1920, one item of student fashion is still unavailable to bluestockings.

Since they are not permitted to receive degrees, women are still not allowed to wear the university gown.

Undergraduette glamour and bluestocking fashion.

Miriam Margolyes continues the story of the first female university students.

Undergraduette glamour and bluestocking fashion. Miriam Margolyes continues the story of the first female university students.

032009081220110803 (BBC7)
20130424 (BBC7)

The glamour of the graduette and bluestocking fashion.

As the first few decades of university education for women slip by, the image of the drab, maverick bluestocking has begun to metamorphose into a far more luminous creature, the 'undergraduette'.

Suddenly, by the 1920s, women students are quite the thing, and prim bluestocking fashion even takes on a hint of glamour.

Yet, even at Cambridge University in 1920, one item of student fashion is still unavailable to bluestockings.

Since they are not permitted to receive degrees, women are still not allowed to wear the university gown.

Undergraduette glamour and bluestocking fashion.

Miriam Margolyes continues the story of the first female university students.

Undergraduette glamour and bluestocking fashion. Miriam Margolyes continues the story of the first female university students.

0320090813

The glamour of the graduette and bluestocking fashion.

042009081320110804 (BBC7)
20130425 (BBC7)

Although academic success comes easily to many bluestockings, some still find relationships something of a stumbling block.

Friendships, crushes and full-blown affairs with both students and tutors become treacherous for those young women who have barely spoken to a man before.

Meanwhile, from fighting for academic equality, it is only a short step to agitating for political enfranchisment.

The suffragette movement that is taking off across the country soon makes its mark on academia.

The suffragette movement makes its mark on academia.

Miriam Margolyes tells the story of the first female university students.

The suffragette movement makes its mark on academia. Miriam Margolyes tells the story of the first female university students.

042009081320110804 (BBC7)
20130425 (BBC7)

Although academic success comes easily to many bluestockings, some still find relationships something of a stumbling block.

Friendships, crushes and full-blown affairs with both students and tutors become treacherous for those young women who have barely spoken to a man before.

Meanwhile, from fighting for academic equality, it is only a short step to agitating for political enfranchisment.

The suffragette movement that is taking off across the country soon makes its mark on academia.

The suffragette movement makes its mark on academia.

Miriam Margolyes tells the story of the first female university students.

The suffragette movement makes its mark on academia. Miriam Margolyes tells the story of the first female university students.

0420090814

The suffragette movement soon makes its mark on academia.

05 LAST2009081420110805 (BBC7)

Although more and more women graduate during the 1920s and 30s, the Great Depression reinforces the pecking order, prioritising jobs for men.

While critics begin to wonder whether academia is breeding white elephants, the bluestockings remain undaunted.

While all too many join the teaching profession, others venture down unexplored career paths as diplomats, aviation engineers, writers and lawyers, all paving the way for future generations of bright young women.

The quest for women's higher education has finally succeeded, but what next for the Bluestockings? Read by Miriam Margolyes.

The quest for women's higher education has succeeded, but what next for the Bluestockings?

05 LAST2009081420110805 (BBC7)

Although more and more women graduate during the 1920s and 30s, the Great Depression reinforces the pecking order, prioritising jobs for men.

While critics begin to wonder whether academia is breeding white elephants, the bluestockings remain undaunted.

While all too many join the teaching profession, others venture down unexplored career paths as diplomats, aviation engineers, writers and lawyers, all paving the way for future generations of bright young women.

The quest for women's higher education has finally succeeded, but what next for the Bluestockings? Read by Miriam Margolyes.

The quest for women's higher education has succeeded, but what next for the Bluestockings?

05 LAST20090815

Many women venture down unexplored career paths, paving the way for future generations.