The Cellular Clothing Company factory opened in 1902 in Morris Street, Swindon manufacturing Aertex cloth inspired by the hygienic clothes movement. It was largely staffed by women workers. (Bedford Lemere, 1902) © Historic England BL_16856_A Explore our images

Women's History

Women's immense contribution to society has often been made invisible by a historic lack of social status and confinement to the home. The social, political and architectural history imprinted in the buildings around us has, in previous centuries, largely been recorded as the story of man.

However, women's achievements and experience have left a deep impression on the historic environment. Once exposed, this can help to fill in the gaps left by previous generations' recording of history to reveal a host of fascinating and inspirational stories.

Women's suffrage protesters and banners.

The Struggle for Suffrage

Explore the histories and places that tell the story of women's struggle for suffrage and gender equality.

Mary Macarthur addressing a crowd in Trafalgar Square in 1908.

Visible in Stone - Women and the built environment

Women's History through Buildings 1850-1950 - partnership project between English Heritage, The Women's Library and the TUC Library Collection at LMU.

Soldiers and nurses gathered together in the garden of Great Dixter, Northiam, East Sussex.

History of Maritime Women

Among the 37,000 shipwrecks recorded around the coast are stories showing female involvement in wreck events, a rich seam of social history.

Brougham Castle, Cumbria. The outer gatehouse, keep and hall.

Lady Anne Clifford's story

The fascinating story of Anne Clifford is known through her diaries and can be told through several historic places.

Babies being weighed in the reception room of an infants hospital in 1908.

Women and Healthcare

These pages are an introduction to some remarkable buildings which illuminate the roles of women in healthcare.

Looking along a gravel path towards the south range of the St Peter's Convent, with four nuns standing in the distance.

Nuns and Convent Building

The Catholic Relief Act of 1829 lifted an injunction on convents in place since the reformation and set the stage for a boom in convent building.

Dusty hats sit forgotten inside Boon and Lane Ltd, a blockmakers in Luton.

Women in the Luton Hatting and Plaiting Industries

A look at the importance of female labour within the Luton hatting industry.

Women working at cunard shell works

Buildings that Celebrate Working Women

Listed buildings tell us the story of working women at the forefront of a fascinating period of social and technological change.

A semi-circle of yew hedging with niches containing statuary and sphinxes.

Women Celebrated by Registered Parks and Gardens

Determined women have seized the opportunity provided by gardens to assert their independence and to create living, lasting monuments.

Woman holding a camera standing in front of four chimneys of a power station

Women Photographers in the Historic England Archive

Discover the women photographers whose work enriches the collections of the Historic England Archive.

Cricket team of Newnham College Cambridge, 1908 with suffragist, Ray Strachey, centre.

Links and Articles

Find out more about women’s history and the built environment with the resources in this section.

Women using the large card index cabinet in the premises of the medical mailing company in Ealing, 1960 - 1970

Carry Out Your Own Research: How to Search Databases

Find out more about Women's History or about buildings or places linked to women by searching the Historic England Archive.

A class on boiling fish at the Clapham Cookery Centre, Tennyson Street, London, c.1890-1905.

Women's History Glossary

Women's History terms definitions