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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
17th January 1899 Born today: Nevil Shute [Norway], London, novelist (On the Beach, Town Like Alice)
17th January 1886 Born today: Ronald Firbank, London, novelist (Flower Beneath the Foot)
17th January 1775 R B Sheridan's Rivals, premieres in London
17th January 1670 Highwayman Claude Duval found guilty of 6 robberies and sentenced to death.
First Birth Control Clinic
The UK's first birth control clinic was opened here in 1925.
Location: 108 Whitfield Street, Bloomsbury
Description: Dr Marie Stopes was born in 1880 in Edinburgh, and although a family planning pioneer, she was heavily criticised for not being a medical doctor. She opened her first family planning clinic in Holloway in 1921 before establishing it here surrounded by social deprivation four years later with her husband.
They set out to prove that a small team in simple, clean surroundings could provide family planning services to poor women. Today the organisation still exists under the cloud of daily protests from anti-abortionists.
Marie Stopes also pioneered the concept of mobile outreach, taking a horse-drawn caravan into the communities she was trying to reach. She was unafraid of criticism and remarkably wrote Married Love - the UK's first sex manual, at a time when the public had access to very limited information about sex.