Watch Clara's Pilot TV Episode Below!

Clara Maria Clarkson and her friends defied social convention, living openly as part of a nurturing Queer community localised around the Wakefield Unitarian Chapel.

Wakefield’s ‘great and good’, fearing scandal if secrets came to light, petitioned to have Clara’s journals destroyed. Out of a total of 40 journals only 4 survived, which were de-coded and re-written in the book ‘Merrie Wakefield’ by Ann Jacques, a distant relative. Now, 130 years after Clara’s death, her voice endures and her story will be told.

Clara Clarkson is Number 13 in our quest for #BluePlaqueParity.

We unveiled Clara’s plaque at an end-of-project celebration held at Wetsgate Chapel in 2019.

Clara Clarkson Broadsheets

Learn about Clara’s life from our broadsheets based on intensive research by the Forgotten Women of Wakefield’s head researcher Helga Fox and research team. Please click through to zoom in on each broadsheet. If you require a different format, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via

Creative Response: Clara the TV Drama

We created Clara as a TV drama about an interesting figure who lived in 1850s Wakefield. Clara Clarkson was a suffragist, an abolitionist and a lover and protector of women in the Merrie City.

“Clara struggles to balance her relationship with companion Harriet and what is expected from her in Victorian society, dodging the charms of doting widower Henry and the vehement disapproval of her mother Sarah.”

Teaser Trailer

The pilot of Clara premiered at a live screening on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2020 at the Mechanics’ Theatre in Wakefield.

Clara appeared at a number of film festivals and received praise from award panelists and viewers alike.

Watch the trailer for the award-winning Clara below:

Clara Clarkson Blue Plaque Unveiling

But Clara's Story Wasn't Over...

As one of only 11 Women who signed the very first Suffrage Petition, Clara Clarkson was one of Wakefield’s most prominent advocates for women’s rights. Her legacy is the diary ‘Merrie Wakefield’ by Ann Jacques (the rights are with FWW project lead Sarah Cobham) which gives an insight into the life of this complicated and fascinating woman. Commissioned by Wakefield Library as part of the Unfinished Business Exhibition on tour from London, this series shines a light on the motivations and characters of our Forgotten Women and is part of a wider project campaigning for #blueplaqueparity 

Clara Clarkson's Merrie Wakefield

Thanks to the tireless efforts of lead researcher Helga Fox, we are publishing a new version of Merrie Wakefield. Entitled “Clara Clarkson’s Merrie Wakefield” this volume presents Jacques’ original text alongside startling new insights uncovered by Helga, digging into court cases and scandal, local events, the cholera epidemic, and more.

Order your copy by emailing us today!

Press Coverage

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