Friday, 8 November 2013



14 JULY 2014 AMAZING AND ASTONISHING UPDATE: Church of England General Synod backs women bishops


    2 mins ago - The General Synod of the Church of England votes to allow women to become bishops for first time in its history, after years of debate and ...

This poster for the Globe Theatre production of Jessica Swales' play, Blue Stockings, needs no explanation from me - other than to say that Cambridge now has almost equal numbers of female and male students. The first women's Degrees ranking equally with men's were awarded about 50 years later than the Blue Stockings battle, in 1948

Founded on religious orders a thousand years ago, Oxbridge may be entitled to think and act infinitely slowly, or at best, at glacial speed. The Roman Catholic Church took 400 years to apologize for harassing Galileo about his heretical, crazy idea that the Earth orbits the Sun, not as The Pope believed that the Sun orbits the Earth; so, how many more centuries before we applaud or abhor the heretical abomination of Female Bishops officiating in our Cathedrals?  

I am tempted to start a Blog-theme of tales of surviving stone-age people. Perhaps modern civilization should establish zoos, where stone-age groups and cultures can be preserved. My blog would certainly lead with the mass misogynistic debate on Women Bishops, then perhaps Stoning Harlots, Female Genital Mutilation, The Courageous Taliban warriors slaughtering school girls, Saudi Petro-Dollar Princes banning women drivers, other quaint religious lunacies, Droit de Signeur, Incest and Harems and imprisoning females at home, primitive Burkas and Crusader Chastity Belts,   ...and, not forgetting this scientific medical genius below, Henry Maudsley, who founded The Maudsley Clinic and had absolute (scientific) proof that when women were afflicted with the irresistible compulsion to study, the effort redirected their blood circulation, their vital fluids, from their wombs and reproductive organs to their brains - thus rendering them infertile and barren and dooming them to a lonely, unhappy, unmarried, childless life - and, inevitably, eternal torment in The Burning Fires of Hell in the afterlife. All these curious cultures and customs should be preserved for posterity and our entertainment. I wonder if these diverse deep thinkers can breed and reproduce - or are they species that are doomed to extinction?


‘Mental taxation in a woman can lead to atrophy, mania, or worse- leave her incapacitated as a mother. This is not an opinion. It is a fact of nature.’ 
Dr Henry Maudsley, British Psychiatrist

It is 1896 at Girton College, Cambridge, and Elizabeth Welsh is preparing for battle.

Girton is the first college in Britain to admit women. The girls risk their reputations for their education. They study ferociously and match their male peers grade for grade. Yet, when the men graduate, the girls leave empty handed, with nothing but the stigma of being a ‘blue stocking’- an unnatural, educated woman- to their names. They are unqualified and unmarriageable.

Principal Elizabeth Welsh is determined to win the girls the right to graduate, whatever the cost. Can they persuade the University? Not if the average fellow or undergraduate can prevent it.

Meanwhile, Cambridge offers far more than merely educational opportunities to the Girton Girls. The battle for the vote, it seems, is the least of Elizabeth’s worries. Blue Stockings follows Welsh and the Girton Girls over this tumultuous year, in their fight to change the history of education.

‘The only thing a woman can own is knowledge...
We must build our Trojan horse and infiltrate from the inside.'

Mrs Welsh

John Dove’s previous productions for Shakespeare’s Globe include, In Extremis, Anne Boleyn and All’s Well That Ends Well.


Tell us what you think about Blue Stockings. Tweet us your thoughts to @The_Globe and include the hashtag #BlueStockings. Or add your comments on our Facebook page.

UPDATE 13 NOV 2013 - Female Cardinals ??? Here is the rumour:

And here is the denial, debunking the myth:

So the door is still open for all you ladies to step up to the plate. Do scarlet robes suit you? 

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