Helen Mathers, author profile

I am a professional historian with a PhD from the University of Sheffield. I have taught many courses on Victorian and women’s history and am proud to be a long-standing associate lecturer for the Open University. My students are of all ages, 18- 80, and come from all kinds of backgrounds. I often think about my students when I am writing – what do they need to know and understand?

When I first learned about Josephine Butler I was astonished by her achievements. She was a Victorian woman, with no vote, who persuaded Parliament to repeal a law she did not like.  And she led a nationwide women’s campaign in order to achieve that! And the law was about prostitutes, the ‘fallen’ women who most Victorians thought were beneath contempt. Why did Josephine care at all? It took a lot of research to find the answers. On the way I discovered Josephine’s astonishing life story – of great love and devastating tragedy. I have produced a biography with a difference – ‘Patron Saint of Prostitutes’ tells Josephine’s life story and explains the historical background as well. But it’s not academic – it’s definitely intended as a ‘good read’ .

My biography was published by the History Press as a hardback in 2014.  From March 2021 it’s available as a paperback, priced at 11.99 on Amazon, with Kindle edition priced at £3.79.  

4 thoughts on “Helen Mathers, author profile

  1. Flo Clucas says:

    Dear Ms Mathers,
    I am writing to you in connection with Josephine Butler. I too believe she was quite a woman. I am hoping to have a piece of commemorative art dedicated to her, here in Cheltenham, acknowledging her contribution to women everywhere. My reason for writing is to ask whether you might have contact details for her family – not, I hasten to add to ask for money, but to ensure that they are informed about what is being done.
    As a current Cheltenham, and formerly Liverpool, councillor, I am well aware of Josephine Butler’s impact on the lives of ordinary women and think it fitting that we should honour her memory and work.
    Any assistance you might be able to give would be most gratefully received.
    My private e mail address is: flo.clucas@btinternet.com
    Best wishes,
    Cllr Flo Clucas OBE
    Sent from my iPad

  2. Mark Scott says:

    Hello Helen. I’m writing a biographical historical novel which will be dedicated to JB. I believe, from my research, she saved my great great grandmother and her son. It would be great to discuss. Mark Scott,

  3. Sonya Grubb says:

    Hi Helen
    I would like to connect with you to discuss a book by Nora Naish “ Dr Lucy”
    Lucy was my grandmother and I’m trying to find out more about her life in Sheffield.
    I understand you may have had something to do with the copying of the book a few years ago?
    If you were able to contact me that would be great.
    Kind regards
    Sonya Grubb

    • Dear Sonya,
      Many thanks for contacting me. I am delighted to hear from Lucy Naish’s grand-daughter. Lucy was one of the first female GPs working in Sheffield. I have always greatly admired her.

      I will be happy to contact you about her.
      Best wishes,

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