‘Women Don’t Do Such Things!’, Queen Victoria said

Women Don't Do Such Things

Women Don't Do Such Things - Credit: Simon Lee Photography Suffolk UK

There are only four weeks left to visit an exhibition at the Suffolk Archives that presents moving stories of pioneering women from Suffolk.

‘Women Don’t Do Such Things!’, a free exhibition located at The Hold in Ipswich, encourages the visitors to step back in time and walk in the footsteps of Suffolk women who have broken down barriers in their communities, careers and countries throughout history. 

The Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition

The Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition - Credit: The Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition

Councillor Andrew Reid, Cabinet Member for Heritage at Suffolk County Council, said: “The exhibition offers a fascinating insight into the lives and experiences of some inspiring women from Suffolk.  

“Suffolk Archives have put together a full programme of events to support the exhibition including curator tours and craft workshops, as well as talks from our archivists and local historians. This is a great chance to find out more about local history, and to come and visit The Hold, and bring that history to life.” 

The Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition

The Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition - Credit: Simon Lee Photography Suffolk UK

One of the displays explores the Women’s Land Army in Suffolk during World War II. The exhibition has been compiled by a local historian Nicky Reynold and includes original Women’s Land Army uniforms, documents and photographs. 

Emily Shepperson, Exhibition and Interpretation Officer at Suffolk Archives, said: “The title of the exhibition is taken from a phrase allegedly said by Queen Victoria. 

“In 1885 the Criminal Law Amendment Act was passed which included measures to criminalise same-sex activity between men, but there was no mention of women. According to legend, this is because when the draft legislation was shown to Queen Victoria, she refused to sign unless all mention of women was removed, as ‘Women Don’t Do Such Things!’ 

The Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition

The Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition - Credit: Simon Lee Photography Suffolk UK

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“Although this exchange is highly unlikely to have ever happened, the phrase lives on as an example of attitudes towards the long-lived, rigid expectations of women’s behaviour, characters, and the lives they could live.” 

The displays are extended by other entertainments, e.g., the Escape Room: Margaret Catchpole, where the participants have to solve the puzzles and collect the resources to make their way to freedom. 

The Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition

The Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition - Credit: Simon Lee Photography Suffolk UK

The exhibition runs until Sunday, June 19 at The Hold on Ipswich Waterfront. The exhibition admission is free, while events are ticketed. The tickets can be booked online in advance. 

Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition

Women Don't Do Such Things exhibition - Credit: Simon Lee Photography Suffolk UK