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Leicester Special Collections

Mary Attenborough: The Hidden History


The exhibition reveals the 'hidden history' of Mary Attenborough: an humanitarian, advocate for equal rights, supporter of arts and culture, matriarch of the famous Attenborough family, and Leicester resident between 1932-1951. Mary deserves to be recognised for her own achievements, but has frequently been hidden behind the achievements of her male family members.

The aim is to celebrate her in this exhibition. 

It explores her roles as wife of the Principal and mother to her three sons, Richard, David, and John. However, in addition to this, it reveals the parts she played in the artisitic and cultural life of the University College Leicester and the wider city; the humanitarian causes to which she was devoted; and her promotion of equal rights between men and women.

Leading up to the University of Leicester's centenary in 2021, one hundred people, places, events and objects important to the Univeristy's history and heritage are being celebrated.

Mary is one of that one hundred.

Note on the Exhibition

Research and development for this exhibition was conducted between July-September 2020. Due to restrictions and social distancing requirements surrounding COVID-19 it has not been possible to visit archives. Therefore, this exhibition was developed solely using sources from University of Leicester: Archives and Special Collections, and internet research. Further details about Mary's life may come to light in the future, which we were not able to find in the course of developing this exhibition.

Exhibition researched and curated by Jack Evans, Shiyu Gao, Shuyang Sun, and Amy Wilkinson.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.