Discovering the untold stories of the Women of Sudbury

The Women of Sudbury

This year we've been working with Derby College to explore and tell the untold stories of the women of Sudbury Hall. In 2018 the National Trust as a whole is commemorating 100 years since the passing of the Representation of the People Act, from the women on the front line as suffragettes right down to simply celebrating the amazing women who have influenced the Trust's amazing places.

Explore the stories of Sudbury's Women
Women of Sudbury, interpreted by Derby College students
Explore the stories of Sudbury's Women

See Sudbury in a way you've never seen before and explore the untold stories of just some of the amazing women who played a part in making Sudbury the amazing place we see today. We've harnessed the artistic expertise and imaginations of the students of Derby College to interpret our stories through art and media as well as our own interpretation. 

" On a cold day in February in 1933, I was met at Sudbury station by the chauffeur, and this was the start of my life in domestic service at Sudbury. The chauffeur took me round to the side door, which was the tradesman's entrance. It seemed to me, at sixteen years old, a very large house and I became lost many times in my first few days."
- Marion E. Kent - Housemaid to the Vernon family in the 1930s

Interpreting stories through art 

Students were provided with research material from our archives and volunteer research groups as well as key objects, portraits and the physical spaces connected to each woman. Other than physical restrictions students have been given free range to use their imaginations and interpret the individual stories in any way they deem appropriate. Students were encouraged not just to use traditional artistic mediums but also sculpture, digital, music, projections and even potential live performances.

Just one of the women who's story we will be exploring this year
A portrait of Lady Vernon, Frances Margaret Lawrance
Just one of the women who's story we will be exploring this year

Whose stories are we telling?

We've tried to choose a variety of women to give more of a snapshot through Sudbury's history. From the story of a lonely Queen Adelaide, who leased the hall for three years from 1840 after the death of her husband King William IV, to the story of a 1930s housemaid. Of course we will be exploring the stories of some of the Vernon women who have called Sudbury home through the centuries.