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A new series of evening talks from June to September 2024

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is launching a new series of evening talks in which museum curators will offer a glimpse of Victorian life behind closed doors. The talks will tackle subjects including sex, prostitution and woman’s health, as well as exploring the significance of leisure activities enjoyed in Victorian homes like dining and quilting.

Lauren Collier, Head of Interpretation at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, said: “With these talks we hope to give people an insight into aspects of Victorian life that they haven’t learnt about before. They are subjects we don’t necessarily have the opportunity to talk about in permanent displays in our museums but were a central part of Victorian life. These talks will give an insight into topics that we know people are curious about and are still relevant to our lives today, and will show how our Victorian ancestors aren’t so different from us!”

The series will begin with The Victorians: Sex and Scandal on Tuesday 4 June and will be followed by three more between July and September.

The Victorians: Sex and Scandal, Tuesday 4 June

This talk by Kyla Hislop, Interpretation Curator, will explore sex, prostitution and the lives of “fallen women” in the Victorian era.

This talk, intended for an adult audience, will be an opportunity to learn about brothel keepers and ladies of the night in 19th century Shrewsbury and Ironbridge, the health “inconveniences” that arose from debauchery, and the moral dilemma of the “great social evil” that gave many working-class women their financial independence.

The other three talks later in the series will be:

You only dine twice: How did our ancestors eat their dinner?, Tuesday 9 July

Kate Cadman, Collections Curator, will reveal how mealtimes and eating ceremonies have changed over the centuries, and show how our eating habits today have been influenced by social class in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Quilting: from quakers to care leavers, Tuesday 13 August

Sue Kirkbright, Learning Officer, will shed light on the history of quilting including the pastime’s connections to the Quakers. She will also show how a national charity today is continuing the tradition of co-operative sewing to support young people leaving care.

Blood and Hysteria: Women’s Health in the Victorian Era, Tuesday 10 September

Lauren Collier, our Head of Interpretation, will give an insight into women’s health in the Victorian era, revealing how Victorian women dealt with their monthly cycles and telling stories of the dangers, diseases and derision women faced from the medical world.

Talks will take place in the Glass Classroom at Coalbrookdale. They will start at 6.30pm and end at 8pm. Tickets cost £5 per person.

For full details of events, tickets and annual pass prices, visit https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/

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