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Local Feature: The Women's Library - 30/01/02

A new library described as 'an encyclopaedia of women's history' is to open in Whitechapel on Tuesday 5th February. The Women's library will open its door in the stunningly redesigned Whitechapel Public Baths and Wash House a listed Victorian building in Old Castle Street.

The Women's library was established in 1926 and houses one of the most extensive collections of female-oriented literature in the country. It is only now the collection can be accessed by the public and not just academics. The collection comprises of an extensive collection of books, posters, magazines, photographs and other objects that celebrate the lives of the women they document.

To celebrate the opening of the library, 50 distinguished commentators have chosen from the library's huge archive to create an exhibition called 'Cooks and Campaigners'. At the centre of the exhibition is a study of the women's fight for the vote told through display of medals, letters, photographs and other paraphernalia.

This will be the first in a series of exhibitions showcasing the breadth and quality of this new library. 'Cooks and Campaigners' provides a unique insight into a whole host of subjects defining our post-feminist era, from the suffragette movement to cookery and fashion. Highlights of the exhibition include, Cherie Booth QC telling the story of Helen Normanton QC, the first woman to be admitted as a bar student who had to fight to keep her name when she married and Isabella blow and Mary Quant musing on fashion magazines and style through the ages.

The Woman's Library opens on Tuesday 5th February and can be found at Calcutta House Old Castle Street London E1 7HT

Call the library on 0207 7320 1189 for library and exhibition opening times.