iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Episode 2

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Episode 2

Duration:
15 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 11 August 2009

Miriam Margolyes reads from Jane Robinson's account of the pioneering British women who overcame all odds to get a university education.

Women had to wait until 1869 before they could enrol at Cambridge University, and even then the odds were stacked against them. Female brains were considered too small to compete with those of men, and the country's leading doctors warned that if women studied too hard their wombs would wither and die.

Faced with the eternal chaperone problem, prejudice from lecturers and the attentions of the so-called 'odd fish', life isn't always easy for the first 'undergraduette'. Yet while, even as late as 1897, women students at Cambridge face burnt effigies and fireworks being hurled at them, the bluestockings begin, quietly, to make their mark.

Broadcasts

Find out more about Books at the BBC

Arts @ BBC

Our new books hub provides a focal point for a huge range of new and archive material.

Sample our books and authors Clip Collection

Clips of Books Content

Interviews, previews and reviews

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss