Victorian feminist Mary Taylor celebrated at Red House

March 3rd, 2011


Credit: katmere / Flickr

The extraordinary life of a Victorian woman who is seen as one of Britain’s first feminists is being celebrated at her former home in Gomersal.

Mary Taylor, who was born and lived in the Red House at Gomersal, flouted the accepted norms of 19th century society.

During her life, Mary ran a business, led mountain climbing expeditions and advocated feminist views.

The exhibition remembering Mary’s pioneering achievements marks 100 years of International Women’s Day.

Born in 1817 into a woollen merchant’s family at Red House, Mary Taylor gradually grew away from her traditional West Riding roots.

She became a friend and inspiration to Charlotte Brontë and attracted international attention for her unusually independent lifestyle.

Challenging the strictures of the time she taught boys in Germany, she emigrated alone to New Zealand in 1845, and she wrote three books.

When she returned to West Yorkshire in 1860, Mary contributed to the history of the women’s movement by writing articles for a magazine called The Victoria.

In her articles Mary outlined her feminist views, for instance calling on women to earn money to look after themselves so they were not dependent on men.

Strong-minded woman

The exhibition at Red House, called Mary Taylor: Strong-minded woman, explores her life and examines her views.

This story continues at The BBC.

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