"Aren't we worthy?" part of Women and Power
A century on from women achieving the vote, we're exploring the stories of women at Stowe. Throughout the year, you've helped to choose great British women to sit in our modern day Temple of British Worthies. Our local community have played an integral part in creating the exhibition. "Aren't we worthy?" is open daily until 9 November.
What can I see?
When you arrive at the New Inn, pop into the Parlour Rooms to discover more about the Temple of British Worthies and plan your route to see the exhibition in the gardens.
We reveal how local groups from the community got involved to create the exhibition and their special connection to Stowe in a short introductory film.
The new Worthies
Make your way to the Temple of Venus to see the 16 new Worthies all represented individually throughout the colonnade walkways.
The stories of Stowe's women
Inside the temple, you'll find the stories of the women that are represented in the historical landscape at Stowe.
Pick up a booklet from the New Inn or at the Temple of Venus. Read about the new Worthies, the people that created each representation and the guiding artists.
Where it all began
Take a walk up to the Elysian Fields where you can visit the original set of individuals selected as British Worthies. Wander behind the temple to find Signor Fido's dedication.
How did the project begin?
A visitor posed a question about female roles within the Temple of British Worthies and asked "Are we not worthy?", which sparked debate amongst our team. In the year of Vote100, we've taken the opportunity to create a twenty-first century point of view on the Worthies.
Originally designed in 1735, it has 16 busts of notable characters that Lord Cobham believed deserved commemoration. When you look along the line of famous faces you'll spot one thing, 15 are male and one is a female, Elizabeth I.
We've created an installation in the garden, shaped by our visitors to Stowe, supporters online, colleagues and contemporaries alongside our local community to result in 16 new representations of British Worthies, 15 female and one male.
" Worthy: a person notable or important in a particular sphere. Synonyms: dignitary, notable, nobility, celebrity, personage, famous person, person of note, pillar of society, leading light, somebody, informal VIP. "
The nominations and going to the polls
Throughout March, you made nominations for a later vote to see who could be represented as a British Worthy via a ballot box at the New Inn Visitor Centre, polls on Twitter and Facebook, alongside email submissions. Voting polls were open in May and June. Casting took place at New Inn, on Facebook, Twitter and in the local towns of Banbury, Northampton and Milton Keynes.
And the results are in
Now we've got a new set of British Worthies we're pleased to give you a little hint at some of the winners. Amonst the group of 16 winners, you'll find famous author and conservationist Beatrix Potter, war time hero Edith Cavell, local charity volunteer Ivy Cakebread and scientist Marie Stopes.
The rest, we hope you'll discover on a visit to the gardens. Each new Worthy has been created by seven local community groups and the team at Stowe and is now on display to the public in the gardens until 9 November.
Working with the community
This organisation supports blind and partially sighted people living in Bucks and Milton Keynes. The COBB craft social group runs regularly at Stowe.
As one of our guardianship partners based in Akeley and Chackmore, students visit Stowe for outdoors learning.
Eve has been running a Family Refuge in Northampton for over 35 years. They help women and children who are victims of domestic abuse to rebuild their lives.
Milton Keynes based charity MK Snap support individuals with learning disabilities through training, education, life skills, work and other opportunities.
Based in Stowe House on the estate alongside the National Trust gardens and parkland, Stowe School was instrumental in saving the site from ruin in the 1922 sale.
This stitch group for students aged 5 to 14 years meet once a month for needlework activities. They are part of the Milton Keynes Embroiderers’ Guild.
Based in Little Horwood, this children's environmental charity aims to explore the wonders of nature. They provide free education, recreation and conservation activities for local Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire communities.
Meet the artists
To help guide the way in which each winner is represented, we enlisted the help of two talented local artists, giving encouragement and creative ideas to represent the many achievments of the new Worthies.
Lizzy is a local artist and has a background in the history of art, visual art and theatre. Lizzy facilitated ideas and creation workshops with the Stowe Creative Team volunteers, providing inspiration and guidance.
Miranda La Mutanta
Miranda is an artist and community arts facilitator with experience in teaching and practicing a wide range of traditional and digital art forms. Miranda supported a number of our community groups with creating their pieces to represent their worthy women.
Women of Stowe
Throughout 2018, we'll be weaving stories of the women of Stowe throughout your visit. The gardens were designed to demonstrate male power and influence on politics, but behind the facade lay influences of female vice and virtue, admired members of roaylty and muses. Look amongst the gardens and there are females around every corner, in the temples and trails designed by Lord Cobham to enlighten his visitors.
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