Was this really a Women’s Library?
People do many things with and around books, and it’s hard to be quite sure if this space was ever used purely as a library. Looking at successive house plans, we can see that what we now call ‘The Women’s Library’ had different uses over the years, ranging from a Study and Morning Room, to a Withdrawing Room and a Demonstration Library … you can find out more about the history of the room on our website.
As for being a female space, the decorative features of the room as we see them today – including the extraordinary feminist statement bookshelf – do appear to be the vision of one particular woman – Georgiana Verney, Lady Willoughby de Broke. Georgiana lived at Compton Verney from 1852, and remained in Kineton until her death. Interested in women’s suffrage, Georgiana was a quiet pioneer and philanthropist of sorts.
The story of women’s rights at Compton Verney is a fascinating and one. It’s the remarkable tale of women’s struggle to express themselves intellectually, creatively and politically.