Nottingham’s First Feminist Library

wooden sign

Carved inscription by members of NWC

Nottingham Women’s Centre was founded in 1971 by the Women’s Liberation Group, becoming the first place in Nottingham where women could get advice, information and support relating to their rights. It originally started out on Pelham Street before moving to Angel Row, where a diverse range of self-help groups emerged such as Women’s Abortion & Contraception Group, Lesbian Group, and Feminist Theory Group. One of these groups, ‘Battered Wives’, would later become Women’s Aid.

In 1978 the Women’s Centre moved to Shakespeare Street, but the premises were too small to accommodate all the services which were provided. After much campaigning, the City Council agreed to fund larger premises and in 1987 the Women’s Centre moved to their current premises on Chaucer Street where it was opened by Jo Richardson MP.

It’s an incredible story and one that needs to be celebrated, and it looks like we may have the perfect excuse. Recently I met with Natasha Picot who is helping to organise WoLAN which is a history project tracing the origins of the women’s liberation movement in Nottingham through the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Most of the stories celebrated are through oral history recordings, films and artworks. There may be ways that we can share and link some of these audio recordings with our App or through embedded content in the iPad.

banner AND books

Quilt on the floor was created by members of the NWC

One person interviewed for the project was Sheelagh Gallagher who helped create the first Feminist Library at the Women’s Centre back in the 1970s. I don’t want to say too much about this here but this would be a fantastic location to celebrate in Dawn of the Unread given that we want to attract people to unique libraries and specific books across the city. Out of all of the libraries I’ve been researching so far, this one is easily my favourite to date.

During Dawn of the Unread we will be bringing back to life various literary figures but I’m particularly interested in creating awareness of more obscure feminist icons. I have a few figures in mind but am still consulting at the moment regarding who would be most appropriate and how their particular story will fit into a wider narrative. Having seen the fantastic book collection at NWC, many of which have been donated, we’re spoilt for choice in directing possible reading material.

Some of the many donated magazines waiting to be archived

In addition to books there is an incredible archive of feminist magazines

Nottingham Women’s Centre website

WoLAN website

WoLan events in March 2014

WoLAN Exhibition Launch at Angel Row Library Gallery first floor 1 March, 10am-12 (exhibition runs all March).

WoLAN Launch Celebration and Lunch 1 March 1pm-4 Council House Ballroom (invitation only contact below).

BSL Interpreter for all events.

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One thought on “Nottingham’s First Feminist Library

  1. Pingback: #Flashmob video and photos | Dawn of the Unread

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