"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?

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. Amongst 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

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. 

a lady with auburn curly hair with flowers sits on a chair in a room

Lizzy McBain

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.

Miranda La Mutanta supports MK Snap with their Aren't we worthy workshop

Miranda La Mutanta

Supporting community groups - Miranda is an artist and community arts facilitator with experience in teaching and practicing a wide range of traditional and digital art forms.

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. 


Lord Cobham's Pillar

Standing 115 feet tall, Lord Cobham's Pillar dominates the Stowe landscape from a 360 degree viewpoint, being seen from arrival and from many areas of the garden. On top sits a statue of Lord Cobham himself, surveying all his gardens to admire. With all this male bravado, you be surprised to learn it was commissioned by Lady Cobham as a birthday present to her dear husband. Sadly, he passed away during its build and never had a chance to see it completed, becoming a commemoration of his memory.

The golden statue of Venus glistens from the sunlight in The Rotunda, an open temple.

Girl power

We've made it easy for you to relate the stories women of Stowe with a trail to let little ones discover things in the gardens.

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Through the lens

A photographer's dream, it's easy to find an inspiring view when you visit Stowe. From monumental temples to nature's beauty, share your snaps with us.