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A Suffrage Tea + Extraordinary Women Walk

Emma Cornell-Stoffer is a social historian from Southampton who blogged about her first HODs adventure 8 years ago and has been visiting ever since. But this year she was encouraged to take the plunge and share some of her favourite local stories by organising her own events.

© Mike Hall Photography 2018 -

Emma Cornell-Stoffer - MuCollective, Southampton, Hampshire

Why I take part

I was approached by the team at Winchester HODs because we had followed each other on Twitter for a while. To be honest I hadn’t considered running my own event before but I had such incredible support and encouragement from the team at both Winchester HODs and HODS London HQ that I felt confident enough to become an organiser. It was a bit scary, i.e. I had never completed a Risk Assessment or marketed my own event before. Collaboration with event partners was also a new experience for me but everyone was so patient and helpful when I had questions or was worried about something, that I quickly felt so reassured.

What I do for HODs

Ladies take tea in 1891. A tradition Emma recreated for her first HODs event / © New York Public Library

2018 was the first year that I have organised my own events. One in Winchester in partnership with the amazing Winchester College; a suffrage inspired afternoon tea and accompanying costumed talks. The other event was a guided historical walk around Southampton city centre in which I brought to life stories of Extraordinary Women who had lived, worked and campaigned there over the last 150 years.

The difference it's made

I have made many new friends and also contacts for the future. One visitor who attended my walk in Southampton was a member of a national cycling organisation and is interested in running history/cycling tours. We talked for a long time afterwards and exchanged contact details. Who knows where this might lead. Another HODs team member has introduced me to a local Theatre. I am now part of that theatre’s Self-Starters Scheme and am organising another food history event. Had I not taken part in HODs I would not have made those contacts or had the confidence to know that I could put on heritage events myself. Who knows, maybe in the future I could set-up my own heritage events business. 

What surprised me

Emma's delicious suffrage tea / © Emma Muscat

The level of support and encouragement is more than I would ever have expected. All my questions (and there were many!) were always answered promptly and with patience. It may seem small now but I was also worried that no one would turn-up for my Southampton walk. That was a concern. However, I found new ways of marketing my walk through the Council and within two weeks I had sold-out and had a long waiting list. 

My top tips

  • Get in touch with your local organiser asap. Although I had submitted my form on the deadline, I had spent many months discussing my events. The earlier you plan the event the better. There will always be someone to help you. You will not be alone. There is so much support particularly for newcomers like me. Yes, there are a few hurdles to get over, depending on your event but it really is worth it in the end.
  • Use Eventbrite to manage the tickets for your event. Also social media is a really easy and cheap way of marketing your event.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Inspired? Find out more...