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Birmingham’s trailblazing women to be celebrated this March

One donated millions of pounds for the good of Birmingham whilst the other helped rescue thousands of children during the second World War.

Now the stories of two of Birmingham’s most inspirational women are to be brought to life in celebration of Women’s History Month this March.

Selly Manor Museum has organised a special event focused on shining a light on philanthropist Louisa Anne Ryland and ‘Hero of the Holocaust’ Bertha Bracey.

Louisa is thought to have donated the equivalent of a staggering £132m as well as land that became Cannon Hill and Small Heath Parks. She also contributed greatly to education and health in the city.

Bertha was instrumental in persuading the British government to accept the 10,000 refugee children of the Kindertransport in 1938 and after the War ended, she arranged for 300 orphans to be flown from a concentration camp to England.

Louise Deakin, Heritage Engagement Officer at Selly Manor Museum, managed by Bournville Village Trust, said: “Women’s History Month is about celebrating the extraordinary women who made an impact on our history, culture and society, yet are often overlooked.

“These individuals made a huge impact on our city, enriched, and in some cases saved lives. In a time when it was challenging for a woman to stand up for not just herself, but others, they took on roles and responsibilities that have blazed a trail.

“This fantastic evening of talks will explore the untold stories of Bertha, Louisa and others, ensuring they aren’t forgotten and that their lives and the impact they had on the lives of others are rightly celebrated.”

The Untold Stories – Women’s History Month Symposium event will take place on Thursday 7th March from 6.30pm-8.30pm at Bournville Quaker Meeting House, 65 Linden Road, Birmingham, B30 1JT.

It will include talks from some of Birmingham’s leading historians including Dr Sian Roberts, lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham, and Irene de Boo, who leads the hugely successful Birmingham Heritage Week.

Liz Palmer, genealogist and former Senior Archives Assistant at the Library of Birmingham, will also be presenting on a project called ‘Born in Birmingham: Maternity, Midwives and Infant Welfare 1914-1924’.

This talk will highlight some of the findings of this project, which relate to Bournville and Stirchley, including the Housewifery School at Thorn Road, and Bournville and Cadbury involvement with Infant Welfare Centres.

Booking is essential and whilst the event is free, Selly Manor Museum welcomes donations towards Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, a charity that supports women and children affected by domestic violence and abuse.

For further details and to book, go to https://sellymanormuseum.org.uk/events/2024-03-07/womens-history-month-symposium

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