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A Dirty, Filthy Book

19th May 2024 · 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Doors open: 1:30pm


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 A Dirty, Filthy Book

London, 1877. A young woman stands before an all-male jury, about to risk everything. She takes a breath, and opens her defence. Annie Besant and her confidant Charles Bradlaugh are on trial for the sordid crime of publishing and selling a birth control pamphlet.

Before Britain’s highest judge she declares it is a woman’s right to choose when, and if, to have children. At a time when women were legally and socially subservient to men, Annie’s defiant voice was a sensation. The trial scandalised newspapers, captivated the British public and sparked a debate over morals, censorship and sex.

In this free talk, critically acclaimed writer and historian Michael Meyer pieces together unpublished archives, private papers and courtroom transcripts to bring Annie and Victorian London to life. He tells the gripping story of a forgotten pioneer who refused to accept the role the Establishment assigned to her. Instead, she chose to resist.

Age Recommendation: 16+

Price: FREE

Access Information

Due to the age and Grade Il listing of the building, there is no lift access to rooms above the ground floor. There is an accessible toilet on the ground floor opposite the Brockway Room.

If you have any questions regarding your access needs, please get in touch with our team and we will accommodate as best as we can. Get in touch:


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Further Info

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