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Jan Long's work to ensure life of 'brilliant' Gertrude Bell isn't forgotten
A COUNTY woman has returned from London where her work documenting the life of an ‘extraordinary woman’ was displayed.
Jan Long, a Ledbury Rotarian, has spent years researching and documenting the life of Gertrude Bell - a writer, traveler, political officer, administrator, archaeologist and spy who was born in County Durham in 1868.
Jan put together an exhibition of information and images of places linked to Gertrude, which have been displayed in the House of Commons, and most recently, the British Academy in London last week.
She said: “I first learned about Gertrude Bell when working as the regional director for the British Council in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I began to research her and photographed all her family homes, and other clubs and the places where she was educated.
“I wanted to set up a photographic exhibition to chronicle her life, and display it in the North East area as I was so shocked she had been forgotten - she was quite brilliant.
She added: “Gertrude had done so much to improve and maintain excellent Anglo-Arab relations at a crucial time during and following the First World War, and she was a woman in a man's world - she was the intermediary and interpreter between King Faisal and Winston Churchill. She wrote in Arabic and when she died in 1926 her death was recorded in newspapers around the world. King George said ‘the nation shall mourn her passing’ and she had a state funeral.
“News of the exhibition spread and I have received invitations from around the world to display it.”
If any local groups would like to display the exhibition, contact Jan on 01531 650036.
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