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New walking tour highlights Liverpool’s most inspirational women

3 weeks ago

New walking tour highlights Liverpool’s most inspirational women
Inspiring Women Liverpool Tour militant suffragettes 1900s

A new walking tour which puts the spotlight on Liverpool’s pioneering women is launching from April.

Liverpool Famous Walking Tours first created an inspirational women in history tour to celebrate International Women’s Day.

It proved so popular as a one-off in 2023 and earlier this year that they’ve now decided to make it a regular feature in their schedule.

The tour focuses on women in the city who helped to bring about real change through their work and campaigning.

Starting from Liverpool Cathedral, it takes in various locations that played an important role in social, medical and cultural progress from the 1800s to modern day.

Rachel McEvoy, who co-founded the tour company with her sister-in-law Jean, says people are often surprised to find out just how influential Liverpool women have been.

Inspiring Women Liverpool Tour Risen Christ Elizabeth Frink
Inspiring Women Liverpool Tour Risen Christ Elizabeth Frink

“Liverpool is often talked about as being pioneering for music and culture, especially with The Beatles, but the influence the city has had worldwide in social reform goes back much further than that and women were at the forefront,” she explains.

“Our tour covers some of the women who played a really important role going back to the 1800s and early 1900s, in the women’s movement, and as pioneers of medical and social history.”

Among those who feature on the tour are the Kitty Wilkinson, whose efforts led directly to the opening of the first public wash house in the mid-1800s, and Elizabeth Fry, a campaigner for prison reform, protecting female inmates from assault and exploitation in previously mixed-gender jails.

More recently, the work of Margaret Simey, a tireless political and social campaigner, is highlighted, along with fearless MP Bessie Braddock and sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink who created The Welcoming Christ statue which stands at the entrance to Liverpool Cathedral where the tour begins.

Inspiring Women from Liverpool’s Past and History will now be offered once a month alongside Liverpool Famous Walking Tours other history, heritage and culture and Beatles tours.

The independent family-run business was set up in 2021 by retired midwife Jean and Rachel. 

“Jean retired early and had been doing a bit of guiding for somebody who knew she loved The Beatles and history,” says Rachel.

Inspiring Women of Liverpool Walking Tour
Inspiring Women of Liverpool Walking Tour

“She told me she’d love to set up her own business, and I’m from that background so we thought we’d give it a go. We pulled our ideas together, thought about how we would like our business to run rather than where we saw a gap, and it’s just grown organically.

“We now have eight guides who work in our team, and we were finalists in three categories at the recent LCR Tourism Awards which was amazing.”

LFWT makes sure all its guides are Liverpool born, or at least brought up in the city, so they bring a depth of knowledge and personal experience to their tours.

“Half of the team have never guided before, we’ve got mostly part-time teachers and lecturers, and three or four actually joined us having done our tour,” says Rachel.

“They came to us because they’re really interested and passionate which is what we look for. Jean wants all of our guides to be great storytellers, not just to walk to a place, tell a fact and move on.

Inspiring Women of Liverpool Walking Tour
Inspiring Women of Liverpool Walking Tour

“Our guides do all do their own research, they’re always investigating, and because they come from Liverpool the city is in their blood and their bones which comes across in the way they talk about it.”

Rachel says Jean and the other guides enjoy sharing their fascination with Liverpool’s history with locals who want to learn more about their home and with the thousands of visitors who come here every year.

Cruise ship passenger especially are amazed not only by what they see when they arrive at the waterfront, but what they hear on the tours too.

“We love introducing Liverpool to people. A lot of passengers who get off the cruise ships have no idea what to expect, they’re on a ship and visiting so many different places so they haven’t come specifically to Liverpool. 

“We have some who weren’t even going to get off the ship but then they do and they can’t believe it. They’re greeted by the Three Graces and they go ‘wow’ and they want to find out more about it. They’re genuinely surprised by Liverpool which is lovely.”

The next Inspiring Women from Liverpool’s Past and History tour will be on April 21, then once a month until October.

For the more info on Liverpool Famous Walking Tours click here.

For the latest news in Liverpool click here.

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