In her shoes: Celebrating the Women of Uppark

Close up of Batoni painting of Sarah Fetherstonhaugh at Uppark, West Sussex

In 2018 the National Trust is celebrating Women and Power as we mark 100 years since the act that first allowed women the right to vote. This year we are redressing the balance as we walk in the footsteps of the women who made their mark on Uppark throughout the years.

Uppark has a rich history of strong and influential women who, despite the disadvantages of their sex, influenced the world around them and held their own in a man’s world. From one of the first women to go on the 'Grand Tour' to an innovative conservationist, our women have made their mark on Uppark and vice versa.

" Uppark feels a feminine and happy house – largely decorated and cared for through the generations by strong women of great taste."
- Harriet Cossart (Nee Meade-Fetherstonhaugh)

Walk in the footsteps of Uppark’s first mistress, Sarah Fetherstonhaugh, who was one of the first women to go on a ‘Grand Tour’ with her husband. During their leisurely two-year tour they collected many pieces and commissioned paintings which can still be seen in the house to this day. She was also the owner of our stunning doll’s house, one of only two of its type in the country.

Visit us this year as we celebrate strong women in our history, starting with Sarah Fetherstonhaugh, Uppark’s first mistress
Painting of Sarah Fetherstonhaugh, one of the owners of Uppark, West Sussex
Visit us this year as we celebrate strong women in our history, starting with Sarah Fetherstonhaugh, Uppark’s first mistress

Find out about the rags-to-riches stories of Emma Hart, who went on to be the celebrated Emma Hamilton who used her wit and charm to entertain rich and influential men like Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh and his friends.

Hear about the romantic tale of Uppark’s dairymaid, Mary Ann, who took steps to change her fortune by marrying the lord of the manor after an unconventional proposal.  

Emma Hamilton (née Hart) was a captivating presence for many, including Sir Harry.
Image of Emma Hamilton painted by George Romney, from the TATE collection
Emma Hamilton (née Hart) was a captivating presence for many, including Sir Harry.

Explore the life of a Victorian housekeeper through the eyes of Sarah Wells, mother of writer, H. G. Wells, as her friendship with the lady of the house enabled her to return as housekeeper to be the sole breadwinner for the family. 

H. G. Wells' mother worked as a maid and housekeeper at Uppark
Photograph of H G Wells' mother, Sarah Wells
H. G. Wells' mother worked as a maid and housekeeper at Uppark

We will also be celebrating the beginnings of modern conservation with one of the leading lights in textile conservation in the mid-20th century, Lady Margaret Meade-Fetherstonhaugh whose efforts to protect Uppark’s textiles mean that the team today can still care for our collection. 

With regular talks, demos and kids trails, we will be celebrating the women of Uppark throughout the summer and inviting you to walk in their shoes.