Her Salisbury Story is an exhibition at The Salisbury Museum, inspired by the Her Salisbury Story project and website, aims to bring the city’s heritage alive through the exploration of women’s narratives, celebrating the lives of women past and present.
The aim is to ‘write in’ women’s experiences of Salisbury, ensuring women’s contributions are seen and valued as intrinsic to the city and its development. The project was started in 2020 by the Soroptimist International of Salisbury – an organisation that aims to transform the lives of women through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities.
The criteria for inclusion in the project is that each of the women will have been born or lived in Salisbury and its environs and/or have made a significant contribution to Salisbury or the wider community. These contributions include social, political, cultural, and economic.
The exhibition explores a selection of the women’s stories, some of which can be found on the Her Salisbury Story website. These include the fascinating story of journalist Dorothy Lawrence, who was the only woman to go to the western front in the First World War.
A journalist by trade, hungry for a good story and determined to do her bit, Dorothy set out for the Western Front in 1915, with little more than a passport, a pencil and a bicycle. Disguised
as a man, she managed to attach herself to the Royal Engineers 51st Division, 179th Tunnelling Co.
Other stories include that of Anne Bodenham, tried and executed for being a witch in 1653; Elihonor Sadler, a ‘trulie virtuous and religious’ philanthropist whose devout and charitable life is marked by a memorial in Salisbury Cathedral; Lady Jo Benson, voted as the woman who has contributed most to life in the city; society hostess and Mayor of Wilton, Edith Olivier; fashion designer Georgina von Etzdorf; stonemason Robyn Golden-Hann; Tracy Daszkiewicz, whose courage and professionalism prevented the tragic Novichok incidents of 2018 from becoming a much greater disaster; as well as an inn-keeper, cutler, painters, nurses, business women and more.
With objects largely drawn from the museum’s collection, this exhibition will be a must-see for anyone interested in women’s histories, local history, and the development of the city of Salisbury.
Her Salisbury Story has published the stories of 80 women on its website, organised a successful writing competition in partnership with author Cornelia Funke, developed Her Salisbury Footprint, a heritage trail and tourist map. It is also working with the Civic Society to increase the number of blue plaques celebrating women. Team members are currently offering guided walks and talks to local organisations.
Exhibition runs from November 12 to April 16, 2023, normal charges apply.