iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Constance Spry; Vivien Duffield; Mary Morrissy

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Constance Spry; Vivien Duffield; Mary Morrissy

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 26 September 2013

For 30 years until her death in 1960, Constance Spry was the society florist choice with her arrangements being part of many Royal occasions. A Storm in a Flower Vase is a new play inspired by her life. Its producer Mig Kimpton and floral designer Susie Edwards talk about her life and work.

Writer Mary Morrissy on her latest novel The Rising of Bella Casey - the story of the sister of renowned Irish playwright Sean O'Casey. Woman's Hour Power Lister and philanthropist, Dame Vivien Duffield who inherited a vast fortune from her father Sir Charles Clore, the retail tycoon who owned Selfridges chats about the charitable Foundation that bears their names. And as the centre-right's Erna Solberg becomes the second woman to be elected Prime Minister of Norway we ask why women are reaching the top in Norwegian politics and what the impact of Norway's move to the right might have on women.


5 items
  • How did a community miss a case of domestic violence that led to murder?

    A Norfolk council leader and former mayor killed his wife last year after a decade of abuse that took place behind closed doors. The case illustrates how a public image of respectability can hide domestic violence. How do such cases continue to happen and what lessons do we still need to learn to stop them happening again? Journalist Steve Downes covered the case for the Eastern Daily Press and Karen Ingala Smith is Chief Executive of Nia, which provides services to end violence against women and children.

    Karen Ingala Smith's blog

  • Dame Vivien Duffield, philanthropist

    Woman’s Hour Power Lister, Dame Vivien Duffield is a philanthropist. She inherited a vast fortune in 1979 after the death of her father Sir Charles Clore, the retail tycoon who owned Selfridges, and became Chair of the Clore Foundation. In 2000 she merged this with her own organisation to produce the Clore Duffield Foundation.  She is thought to have given over £200 million to charity projects.

  • A new play on the life of Constance Spry

    Mig Kimpton, Associate Producer of A Storm in a Flower Shop

    For three decades – until her death in 1960 – Constance Spry was the society florist, making  flower arrangements for the wedding of the Duchess of Windsor and for the Queen’s Coronation in Westminster Abbey. But Constance was more than just a florist, in the first half of her life she had been a social reformer and teacher which led to her passionate belief that floristry can be enjoyed by everyone. Mig Kimpton is a theatre producer and an enthusiastic florist who has co-produced a play about the life of Constance Spry called A Storm in a Flower Vase.

    Guests: Mig Kimpton and floral designer Susie Edwards

  • Norwegian women in politics

    This month Norwegians elected the centre-right leader Erna Solberg to be the new Prime Minister, making her the second female Prime Minister in the country and the first conservative one since 1990. Solberg is currently negotiating a coalition with other centre-right parties and women are likely to bag some of the top jobs, continuing a tradition of excellent female representation in Norwegian politics. But what explains the rise of so many women to the top and will a move to the right impact the lives of women? Marie Simonsen, political editor of Dagbladet  explains what’s on the horizon for Norwegians.

  • Mary Morrissy's novel “The Rising of Bella Casey”

    Mary Morrisy

    In her latest novel, writer Mary Morrissy tells the story of enigmatic beauty Bella Casey, sister of renowned Irish playwright Sean O’Casey. Bella features in her brother’s autobiography, but for reasons known only to him, Sean kills her off prematurely, at least 10 years before her actual demise.  Mary imagines what Bella’s life might have been like at a time when women’s daily lives were affected by religious hypocrisy, sexual disease and the demands of large families. She begins her story on the strife-torn streets of Dublin at Easter 1916 when the city is in social upheaval.


Jenni Murray
Interviewed Guest
Susie Edwards
Interviewed Guest
Mig Kimpton
Interviewed Guest
Mary Morrissy
Interviewed Guest
Vivien Duffield
Interviewed Guest
Marie Simonsen
Ruth Watts


Woman's Hour Power List 2014 – Game Changers

Doreen Lawrence

Doreen Lawrence is named number one game changer.

Woman's Hour Takeover

Woman's Hour Takeover

Five remarkable women take over Woman's Hour for one week.

Free downloads

  1. Image for Cook The Perfect...

    Cook The Perfect...

    Discover cooking techniques and tips to help you perfect your cooking know-how. Jenni Murray and…

  2. Image for Woman's Hour Power List 2014 – Game Changers

    Woman's Hour Power List 2014 – Game Changers

    Which ten women in the UK have done most to game-change the way power operates in the UK, whether in…

  3. Image for Woman’s Hour Daily Podcast

    Woman’s Hour Daily Podcast

    Woman's Hour brings you the big celebrity names and leading women in the news, with subjects ranging…

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