As we mark 100 years since Nancy Astor became the first woman to sit in the House of Commons, the University of Reading continues to pioneer reform and progression.

Dr Jacqui Turner, Lecturer of History in the School of Humanities, is uncovering the female pioneers of British politics – in particular, Nancy Astor.

Astor was the first female MP to sit in the House of Commons. The University of Reading holds an extensive collection of her papers.

Jacqui adopts a hands-on teaching approach. She encourages students to visit parliament, and to examine the real, historical documents from Astor's life. Jacqui hopes that by rediscovering the commitment of our early female MPs, her current students will be inspired to become more involved in politics today.

Jacqui worked closely with parliament on the Vote 100 exhibition project, which celebrated the centenary of some women and all men being granted the vote in 1918. At the end of 2018, Vote 100 became Astor 100. The project is now being curated by Jacqui at the University of Reading, in partnership with parliament and academic, educational and community partners.

Astor 100 is a major series of academic and public engagements taking place during 2019 and 2020. The events are a memorialisation of the achievements of an individual that will facilitate a wider celebration of what she represented, and the avenues she pioneered for the women who followed her.

On 28 November 2019 – 100 years since Nancy Astor won her seat in 1919 – a GWR train was renamed the Nancy Astor. Departing from London Paddington, and stopping at Reading, it will take dignitaries to Plymouth for the unveiling of the Nancy Astor statue.

Astor 100 is a huge culmination of Jacqui’s research and aims to engage everyone with their own inspirational history to effect positive change.

Teaching staff on specific courses or modules and specific areas of research may be subject to change.

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University of Reading

I love that my teaching and research has a real impact on my students, the community, and further afield. I hope that Astor’s determination and perseverance will inspire other women to pursue their dreams, too.

Dr Jacqui Turner, School of Humanities
University of Reading