London’s inspiring women

These inspiring female figures from London are a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Today (March 8th) is International Women’s Day and as the world celebrates, we decided to look a little closer to home. Inspirational women have helped change the course of history and shown future generations shining examples of how to have a life worth living. It’s interesting to see how many incredible women are Londoners, so we have delved deeper into the annals of history to find some inspirational females from the capital. You may even find references to them during your next serviced apartment stay in London.

Ada Lovelace – 1815 – 1852

Sometimes referred to as the first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace was a mathematician who worked with Charles Babbage on the analytical engine. She translated an article on Babbage’s invention and added her own comments, introducing a number of computer concepts. Despite being the daughter of Lord Byron, who was something of a celebrity in his day, she carved a niche out for herself and shone in the world of mathematics.

If you happen to be in Westminster, you can note where Lovelace lived, as there is a plaque to commemorate her in St James’s Square.

Virginia Woolf – 1882 – 1941

Remembered most for her modernist works, including To the Lighthouse and Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf also penned some important feminist writings, such as Three Guineas and A Room of One’s Own. She became part of the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of eminent artists and intellectuals who used to meet weekly. The group carried out an elaborate scheme, which came to be known as the Dreadnought Hoax, in which they dressed up as a delegation of Ethiopian royals and persuaded the Royal Navy to give them a guided tour of HMS Dreadnought.

You can visit Woolf’s blue plaque in Fitzroy Square in Camden, where many of the Bloomsbury Group lived and worked.

Rosalind Franklin – 1920 – 1958

Often overlooked in the story of how the structure of DNA was discovered, Rosalind Franklin was a pioneering chemist and X-ray crystallographer. Although Watson and Crick took the glory and the Nobel Prize, it is now widely accepted that Franklin’s work in the area was just as important. In fact, her data was vital in establishing the double helix model.

See a blue plaque erected to the scientist at Drayton Court in Chelsea, where Franklin lived.

Mary Quant – 1934 – present

Fashion designer Mary Quant was instrumental in the 1960s, bringing fashion for younger people and the Mod vibe to the masses. She is often credited as being the inventor of the miniskirt and was known for her bold colours and simple shapes. She opened a boutique on the King’s Road in 1955 called Bazaar, which was so popular, she followed it up with a second branch in Knightsbridge in 1963.

Although Bazaar is no longer on the King’s Road in Chelsea, Quant’s influence can still be seen, due to the boutiques that sell fashion at the London location to this day.

Adele Adkins – 1988 – present

For a woman who has not yet hit 30, Adele Adkins, better known simply as Adele, certainly has plenty of achievements under her belt. Her debut album, 19, went platinum in the UK and her two subsequent albums have also been huge successes. Adele has performed at Glastonbury and recorded the theme for a Bond film, Skyfall. She has used her fame for a number of good causes and despite her stardom, has never lost her working-class London accent.

Adele will be playing various dates at Wembley Stadium later this year.

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