University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Reading the silences: Trudie Denman and the women’s movement in the first half of the twentieth century

Andrews, Maggie and Muggeridge, Anna ORCID: (2024) Reading the silences: Trudie Denman and the women’s movement in the first half of the twentieth century. Women's History Review, AOP. pp. 1-21. ISSN 0961-2025 (print); 1747-583X (web)

Reading the silences Trudie Denman and the women s movement in the first half of the twentieth century.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (761kB) | Preview


This article discusses the challenges of researching a biography of the personal, professional and political life of Lady Gertrude Denman (1884–1954). ‘Trudie’ as she was familiarly known, took on leading roles in a number of organisations, including the Women’s Institute Movement, the National Birth Control Council and the Women’s Land Army. She also provided financial support to many organisations, including the Liberal party, to which she was politically affiliated. She was a skilled chair of meetings and conferences, with an acute eye for procedure; an enabler, facilitator and motivator who encouraged co-operation and smoothed ruffled feathers as she cajoled self-righteous firebrands with difficult personalities to work together and ensured ordinary working-class people had a voice. We explore her now largely forgotten role in these organisations and argue that, as the ultimate pragmatist, she favoured and getting things done by co-operation over polemics and grandstanding. We also address the many complexities of her personal life, including her relationship with Margaret Pyke. In navigating the many ‘silences’ that surround her personal and professional life, we seek to understand the relationship between her personal experiences and her practical, political and professional roles as an activist in the contemporary women’s movement.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Gertrude Denman, women’s institute, birth control, women’s land army, biography
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
Related URLs:
Copyright Info: Open Access Article, © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Depositing User: Maggie Andrews
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2024 16:13
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 14:37

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Worcester Research and Publications is powered by EPrints 3 which is developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. More information and software credits.