Hartree, Cambridge: Eva Hartree Presentation and Q&A with Antony Carpen
Hartree, Cambridge: Eva Hartree Presentation and Q&A with Antony Carpen
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In January 2024, local historian Antony Carpen, delivered a presentation to the Hartree project team about the project’s namesake - Eva Hartree - Cambridge's first female mayor.

His talk highlighted her remarkable life and achievements and painted a picture of the historical backdrop of her work. A subsequent Q&A session allowed the team to delve deeper into these fascinating topics.

Carpen's presentation highlighted the societal challenges that women in the 19th century faced. In his presentation, he talked about the instrumental role figures like Eva Hartree played in reshaping Cambridge’s social, political, and institutional landscapes, overcoming societal barriers. He pointed to her extensive engagement in various committees and groups both within Cambridge and beyond including the Voluntary Aid Detachment, Hon. Secretary of the Farnham Suffrage Society, Chief Patrol of the Women’s Patrols under the Chief Constable and serving as a Cambridge Borough Councillor. These contributions, among others, ultimately paved the way for her ground-breaking election as Cambridge's first female mayor in 1924.

A central theme of Antony’s talk was Eva Hartree's interest in housing and community development. Growing up in the industrial town of Stockport, she understood the crucial role of public amenities in strengthening community life and championed sensitive development with a focus on living conditions, leading to transformative changes in Cambridge's urban planning, particularly through the Cambridge Women’s Housing Association.

Eva Hartree's approach was inclusive; she collaborated with people of all ages, classes, and professions to promote community well-being. Drawing parallels from this, the Hartree project seeks to mirror her approach. This commitment ensures that the local community benefits from the development and plays a part in shaping the future of this quarter of Cambridge, echoing it’s ‘Shaped by Many’ value.

The project name 'Hartree' was selected through a community-wide vote which will ensure that her progressive legacy will be carried forward throughout the design and planning process for the project.

We are grateful to Antony Carpen for his exceptional presentation on Eva Hartree's life and her pivotal role in shaping Cambridge's history – it was a fantastic opportunity for the team to find out more about a trailblazing individual in the city’s history.

To explore further, visit his Lost Cambridge blog, where he delves into the stories of other remarkable women who have been instrumental in forging the Cambridge of the present.

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