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History Club - Week 2

This week, we're exploring our first of the many, many sources held by the Modern Records Centre. Founded in 1973, the MRC launched with the principal objectives of locating and preserving primary sources for modern British social, political and economic history. As the coming weeks will demonstrate, they have loads of interesting and important things in their collections!

'The New Woman'

Look at the following online exhibition on the Modern Record Centre website on ‘the new woman’ of the 1890s and early 1900s:

'The New Woman'

'The Lady Cyclist, 22 Aug 1896'

Answer the following questions using the two sources above, 'The New Woman' and 'The Lady Cyclist, 22 Aug 1896':

  1. In your own words, describe ‘the new woman’.
  2. Looking at the postcard, what tells you this is the house of a ‘new woman’?
  3. According to 'The Lady Cyclist' source, what is the connection between the bicycle and the women’s liberation movement?
  4. Who was the intended audience of 'The Lady Cyclist' source and what biases might they have had?
  5. How useful do you think these two sources are for understanding attitudes to women in the early 1900s?
  6. To what extent do you think women today are ‘new women’?

General Information:

To help you think about these sources in a historical way, use the list of questions to guide your thinking.

When you've made your way through the sources and questions, you can submit them to us at Try to respond to all of the questions if you can, but don't worry if you can't - this isn't a test!

Next week, we will choose some of the answers we receive and post these on the website.


Tips for Using
Primary Sources: