Cycles and Knickerbockers: Christchurch feminists' dress reform debate of the 1890s

Description

Votes for women was not the only issue under discussion by Canterbury's feminists in the 1890s. Should women cycle and if so what should they wear, were also topics of heated debate. Some women were daring enough to abandon their corsets and even wear knickerbocker costumes as they enjoyed the freedom that cycling and this new style of dress gave them.In this course we'll examine some of the written material produced by these early advocates of cycling and 'reform dress', we'll look at the issues behind the debate and the lives of some of the key personalities involved. They include James Reeves Wilkinson and Kate Walker whose wedding was notable for the bridal party wearing knickerbocker outfits, and Alice Meredith Burn whose request to the Canterbury College Board of Governors to wear knickerbockers to lectures was met with a blank refusal.

Margaret Lovell-Smith was Co-ordinator at the CWEA until 2016. As an historian she has published mainly on topics of local history, women's  biography, and the nineteenth century women's movement in Canterbury.