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24th March 2021

Women’s History Month events

We’re doing a series of events for Women’s History Month in March and April.

The first is a talk on Irene Barclay on the 31st March.. Click TICKETS

On the 29th April we will be hosting a virtual tour with Blue Badge Tourist Guide Rachel Kolsky, who is known for her fun and informative talks filled with anecdotes from the past and present.

Feminism to Frankenstein, Slums to Settlements: St. Pancras Women will look at the individual stories of the women of St Pancras. Tickets coming soon!!

Irene Barclay (OBE), a social housing pioneer and the first female housing surveyor has been shortlisted for a Blue Plaque by Historic England. She received an OBE in 1966 for her voluntary work in housing societies.

On the 31st March Carrie de Silva will be sharing Irene’s inspirational work and life through archival photos, memories and voices in an online Q&A format.

This event will help raise funds for our Peoples Museum here in Somers Town.

Carrie de Silva (LlB (Hons) MA ATT (Fellow) FHEA) is Principal Lecturer at Harper Adams University and author of many works about women, include Irene Barclay, including ‘First among equals” for RICS Building Control Journal, an entry for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, as well as ‘A Short History of Agricultural Education and Research, First Women

She is currently working on a book of mini-biographies of women for whom streets have been named; and researching Irene Barclay and other Somers Town ‘land ladies’/housing managers.

Irene was an admired and important historical figure in Somers Town, who helped influence the slum clearances that took place in 1924. She went on to build and work with Evelyn Perry, Edith Neville, Father Basil Jellicoe and many others during her time as the St Pancras’ Housing Trusts first estate manager. A role she stayed in from 1924 to 1972. The first eight flats were finished in 1926 and by the time she retired in 1972, 830 homes had been created along with schools, halls and commercial properties. Irene Barclay and Evelyn Perry, went on to form their own female-led partnership in a male dominated profession, called Barclay and Perry Chartered Surveyors.

Irene recognised and promoted the importance of good quality and sanitary living conditions for individuals, families and communities alike, which is not only evident in her work but, throughout her book ‘People Need Roots’.

She has also made significant contributions to many other housing associations across London, Birmingham and Edinburgh for example.

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