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Best Place, Lord Steel on 1967 Abortion Act, Textile design

Life for women in north east Wales, Lord Steel reflects on the Abortion Act, textile designers Emma Sewell and Harriet Wallace Jones and the legacy of black activist Olive Morris.

Erica Swan is one of three women who describe what it's like to live and work in north east Wales, one of the areas covered in our Best Place to be a Woman series. Denbighshire scored well on environment with lots of green open space, but was ranked poorly on education and culture. What do the women who live there make of that?

We hear the reflections of Lord Steel of Aikwood, whose Private Member's Bill led to the enactment of the 1967 Abortion Act which was passed 50 years ago today.

Ever sat on the tube or train and wondered who designed the seat fabric? Emma Sewell and Harriet Wallace Jones are responsible for some of it, and are celebrating 25 years together with a new exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London. They join us to talk women in design, successful partnerships and designing stand out fabrics.

Olive Morris was a young black activist campaigning for civil rights in her south London community in the 1970s before her death from cancer at the age of 27. Dr Angelina Osbourne looks back at her life and discusses how her legacy lives on today.

Iris Origo was one of the 20th Century's great diarists. British born and living in Italy, her classic war diary 'War in Val D'Orcia' documented her daily life during WW2, sheltering refugee children and aiding escaped Allied prisoners of war. Now a previously unpublished diary, 'A Chill in the Air', has been found which charts the awful inevitability of Italy joining the war. Writer Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Origo's granddaughter Katia Lysy discuss her life and work.

Presenter: Jenni Murray
Producer: Anne Peacock.

Available now

45 minutes


  • Best Place

    Duration: 10:35

  • Lord Steel on 1967 Abortion Act

    Duration: 06:34

  • Textile design

    Duration: 08:47

  • Late Night Woman's Hour trail

    Duration: 01:31

  • Olive Morris

    Duration: 05:06

  • Iris Origo

    Duration: 07:57

Woman's Hour : The Abortion Act 50 years on

Black Cultural Archives


Role Contributor
Presenter Jenni Murray
Producer Anne Peacock


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