Bike & Go’s Women’s World Bike Ride Guide
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
From a double-Oscar winner to the woman who influenced the creation of family allowance, so many female powerhouses have made their mark in Merseyside.
That’s why, to mark International Women’s Day, Bike & Go have put together a guide to some of the places you can cycle to in the region to pay homage to these inspirational figures.
Whether just in their local communities or on a national scale, there are so many amazing females that have made a difference to the lives of others that it was hard to pick just a few.
So, with that in mind, we’d love you to contact us through Facebook or Twitter at @UKBikeandGo with some of your own suggestions for notable women throughout history.
In the meantime, here are just a few of the locations you can cycle to this International Women’s Day to remember the incredible powerhouses who made such a difference.
Cycle around Eleanor Rathbone’s former home in Everton
Enjoy a great view of the city by cycling up to Everton Brow where, from the high vantage point, you can look out over the city’s skyline and remember the women who once moved out of their comfortable homes into the Victoria Women’s Settlement, which at the time stood at 322 Netherfield Road. Here, university-educated women lived alongside those less well-off, in order to make a difference to the lives of the working-classes.
A key resident of the settlement was Eleanor Rathbone of the Liverpool’s well-known Rathbone family, who was also at the forefront of the national suffrage movement. She devoted her life to fighting injustices against the poor, including influencing the creation of the Family Allowance Act, becoming one of the most important women in British history in the process.
Hire a bike from: Moorfields station
Walk in Glenda Jackson’s shoes in West Kirby
Cycle through the beautiful coastal resort of West Kirby before heading to West Kirby Grammar School where actress and politician Glenda Jackson admitted to enjoying being ‘locked in cupboards and things like that’. The powerhouse went on to study at RADA and enjoyed an extremely successful acting career, adding two Oscars to her stable of awards before submersing herself in the world of politics for over two decades.
Ride back through the town, stop off at one of the lovely coffee shops for a cuppa and a slice of cake, and pay homage to the over-achiever who really did manage it all.
Hire a bike from: West Kirby station
Remember a true champion of women at the Catholic Cathedral
Not afraid of taking up controversial campaigns, Josephine Butler spent many hours at the Brownlow Hill Workhouse, which once stood on the site of the current Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, getting to know the workers that worked in a segregated shed there.
Butler went on to spearhead a campaign against state inspection of women suspected of being sex workers for venereal diseases and, after 20 years of campaigning, the act that allowed this to happen was repealed.
Make a morning of your bike ride by cycling around the Georgian Quarter and stopping off at any one of the appealing eateries in Hope Street before finishing at the Cathedral to remember a woman who really was ahead of her time.
Hire a bike from: Liverpool Central station
Celebrate Southport’s first woman mayor at Southport Town Hall
Ride along Southport’s stunning boulevard Lord Street, to the beautiful Town Hall, where you can pay homage to Christiana Hartley CBE, daughter of the legendary jam maker Sir William Pickles Hartley, philanthropist and all-round people’s champion, who became Southport’s first woman Mayor in 1921.
However, Hartley’s greatest legacy was her proposal for the construction of a fully equipped maternity hospital for Southport, which led to the opening of the Christiana Hartley Maternity Hospital in May 1932.
After enjoying the delights of Southport’s main thoroughfare, cycle on to Oxford Road in Birkdale where, although Christiana’s former home (no. 8) has since been demolished, you can at least see the street on which she once lived with her family.
Hire a bike from: Southport station
Make a stand on St George’s Plateau
One of the city’s most stunning landmarks, the plateau at the Lime Street side of St George’s Hall has played host to many a public debate over the years, with the Women’s Suffrage Movement just one of the groups to make their voices heard there. But the plateau was not just used as a platform; it also hosted soup kitchens for the poor run by a group of women including Mary Bamber during the economic depression of winter of 1906-7.
Once you’ve finished marvelling at the sheer beauty of the building and imagining the vibrant debates that took place on the plateau, pop over to Lime Street station. There you can pay your respects to Liverpool’s first woman MP, Mary’s daughter, Bessie Braddock, who is immortalised in a statue there, before heading over to Dale and Old Hall Streets to check out out the 21stcentury take on these historic roads.
Hire a bike from: Moorfields station
Head to Ormskirk for a Gingerbread tale
Ormskirk has been known for its delicious gingerbread for centuries and although there were many gingerbread makers in the town, all of whom were women, some became more well-known than others.
Manufactured as early as 1732, the gingerbread ladies often mixed or baked their gingerbread in their homes or other private premises and sold it to travellers on the Liverpool to Preston platform.
Start at the train station and imagine what life must have been like for these hard-working women, hopeful of a sale from a passenger. Then cycle down to the pretty villages of Aughton and Town Green where you can enjoy a lovely leafy bike ride. Just don’t forget to buy some gingerbread!
Hire a bike from: Ormskirk station
Celebrate the life of a sporting superstar
Five-times Wimbledon player, British national golf champion, member of the England women’s national field hockey team and the recipient of an Olympic silver media – in archery – it’s no surprise that the Guinness Book of Recordshailed Bebington-born Lottie Dod the most versatile British female athlete of all time. Even more amazing is the fact that she won her first Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Championship when she was only 15, in the summer of 1887.
Dod remains the youngest ever ladies’ singles champion, and is more than worthy of a bike ride in her honour. At the top of Quarry Road at what used to be Edgeworth Lane, you’ll find the land that once formed part of The Edgeworth Estate, which belonged to her family. Cycle around the area and down to Birkenhead where her successful cotton merchant father had easy access to the ports, and you’ll get a real flavour of the life and times of Lottie Dod.
Hire a bike from: Birkenhead North station
See where the first female jockey rode in the Grand National
When it comes to female firsts, Charlotte Brew is right up there with the best of them. In 1977, the then 21-year-old earned her place in the history books when she became the first female jockey to ride in the Grand National at Aintree, with the horse she’d been given for her 18thbirthday, Barony Fort.
Head for your nearest access point to the Liverpool Loop Line, then take a detour once you reach Aintree Village to cycle around the perimeter of the grounds, including Melling Road where the racecourse crosses the road and you can enjoy a great view of the place where Charlotte made history.
Hire a bike from: Aintree station
Pay homage to Margaret Beavan in Moreton
For many children in 20thcentury Liverpool, Margaret Beavan was nothing short of a life-saver. Born to a family living in comfortable circumstances in Bowring Street, Toxteth Park, she became involved in promoting child welfare and was chief of the Invalid Children’s Association from its inception in 1907 until her death in 1931.
One of Margaret’s key achievements was creating the Liverpool Sanatorium for Crippled Children and Hospital for Tuberculosis which later became the Leasowe Children’s Hospital, and she chose Leasowe due to the health benefits that the clean sea air could bring those suffering from various conditions. The buildings were later demolished to make way for new developments, but you can still cycle around Leasowe Road and its surrounding area and breathe in the same sea air that encouraged Margaret to set up the hospital here.
Hire a bike from: Hoylake station