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About the Work

In 1918 Marie Stopes wrote and published a book called Married Love. As it was a sex manual it annoyed the religious establishment, especially as its author had declared herself a virgin at the time. They spoke out strongly against it, so in retaliation she lead large protests outside churches, usually on Sunday mornings. She then started a journal called Birth Control News which gave anatomically explicit advice. In 1921 she set up the first birth control clinic in Upper Holloway. Today the organization that bears her name works in thirty eight countries. Throughout her life she claimed to remain psychologically twenty-six years old.

Here is Marie Stopes on the publication day of Married Love.


The women I portrayed in this work were role models for my mother, Muriel. Together they make up her personality and like her they had charisma and chutzpah.
Muriel, a war-widow's daughter, left school at 12 to bring some money into her poverty-stricken family. Hardly able to read and write, she sold programmes and did odd jobs at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham. When she was 14 she was talent-spotted. Beginning as a hoofer in a chorus line, she became a lead dancer and singer with the stage-name Muriel Melford in a long-forgotten musical at the Prince of Wales called Bonjour Paris.
When she was in that show she met her future husband, my father. He was an Oxford-educated schoolmaster over twice her age. He introduced her to a middle-class world of unfamiliar concepts such as politics, ethics and causes. Muriel took notice. Married and back in the Midlands she spoke up about what were embarrassing issues in the provincial England of the 1940s and 50s - pacifism, the abolition of the death penalty and the sexual liberation of women.

″I still use the same approach to my work: I get an idea, think of the title and then make the work. So not much has changed since 1964″

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