Donna Bish of the New Theatre Royal has been working in partnership with Portsmouth Academy for Girls, Priory School and Portsmouth High School in a project to research the role of Portsmouth women as “Temporary Men” during the First World War.
Funded by Portsmouth City Council and the Armed Forces Community Covenant the Portsmouth Central Library is hosting a free exhibition this week to celebrate thees women, their lives and their contributions to the war.
During her research Donna found three women who stood out: Hertha Ayrton, the Portsea born scientist and inventor who invented the Ayrton anti-gas fan which was used prolifically in the War; Yvonne Evans, granddaughter of Portsea Alderman Henry Evan and the first Portsmouth woman to register with the WRNS; and Beatrice Hobby, a Portsea lady who worked in the Dockyard for much of the war after her husband was killed in action. Students from Portsmouth High School are devising a new performance based on the lives of these women.
The New Theatre Royal explain that “the Exhibition, Temporary Men: Portsmouth Women in the First World War will display the students’ art, written and performance work as well as historical information and photos. A list of names of Portsmouth’s “Temporary Men” and their individual roles will be later published on the New Theatre Royal website.”
The exhibition runs for one week only, so don’t hang around as your last chance to see this will be on the 15th November. The exhibition itself is being held no the first floor but if you are not sure then any of the lovely members of staff will point you in the right direction.
If you have any information, anecdotes or share an interest in Portsmouth’s maternal ancestors I am assured Donne would love to hear from you! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org