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Adrian [née Pinsent], Hester Agnes, Lady Adrian (1899–1966), penal reformer, was born at Lordswood House, Harborne, Birmingham, on 16 September 1899, the only daughter and youngest child of Hume Chancellor Pinsent (d. 1920), a solicitor, and his wife, Ellen Frances Parker (1866–1949)...

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Dame Geraldine Southall Cadbury (1865–1941) by Thomas Bowman Garvie, 1912 © Birmingham Museums Trust

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Cadbury, Dame Geraldine Southall (1865–1941), social and penal reformer, was born Geraldine Southall at 5 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, on 29 June 1865, the daughter of Alfred Southall (1838–1931), chemist, and his wife, Anna Strangman, née Grubb (1841–1912). She inherited a propensity for social activism from her Quaker parents; her father was a temperance worker who taught a working men's adult school class, while her Irish mother was a supporter of women's suffrage. She was educated at ...

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Carpenter, Mary (1807–1877), educationist and penal reformer, was born on 3 April 1807 at Exeter, the eldest of six children of the Unitarian minister Lant Carpenter (1780–1840) and his wife, Anna Penn (1782?–1856), a supervisor of schools for girls. The Carpenters belonged to the intellectual aristocracy of English puritanism, a world largely set apart from the wider society. Piety, an exacting sense of obligation, and reforming principles marked the household. Though vowed to tolerance, the ...

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Craven, Cicely Musgrave (1890–1962), penal reform campaigner, was born at Rocklands, Strickland Kettle, near Kendal, Westmorland, on 23 March 1890, the third daughter and youngest child of Dr Robert Musgrave Craven (1851–1914), a medical officer of health for local urban and rural districts, and his wife, ...

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Eaton, Gertrude (1863–1940), musician, suffragist, and international penal reformer, was born at Brynmor, Swansea, on 6 December 1863, the sixth child and fifth daughter of Robert Eaton of Bryn-y-mor, gentleman and justice of the peace for county of Glamorgan, and his wife, Helen Edith, ...

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Field [née Lowinsky], Xenia Noelle (1894–1998), prison reformer and horticulturist, was born in Secunderabad, India, on 25 December 1894, the daughter of Thomas Hermann Lowinsky (d. 1932), general manager of the Hyderabad–Deccan mines, and his wife. Xenia's unusual Christian names reflected the fact that her mother liked the sound of Russian words and that she was born on Christmas day. A year later the family returned to ...

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Forster [Foster], Agnes (d. 1484), wealthy widow and prison reformer, came from Kent and was married for about twenty years to the London shipowner, merchant, and MP Stephen Forster, who was mayor in 1454–5. He came from Somerset and maintained close links with the ...

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Fraser, Catherine (1786–1868), penal reformer, was born on 26 June 1786 at the High Street, Wapping, the only surviving child of James Fraser (1749–1825), merchant, and his wife, Ann, née Thatcher. James Fraser had premises in Wapping and later became a biscuit baker. In August 1794 ...

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Elizabeth Fry (1780–1845) by George Richmond, 1844 Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery / private collection

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Fry [née Gurney], Elizabeth (1780–1845), penal reformer and philanthropist, was born on 21 May 1780 at Magdalen Street, Norwich, the fourth of twelve children, seven daughters and five sons, of John Gurney (1749–1809), a merchant and banker, and Catherine Bell (1754–1792). Her parents were both descendants of old Quaker families, ...

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(Sara) Margery Fry (1874–1958) by Claude Rogers, 1939 © Estate of Claude Rogers; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thomas L. Hodgkin

revised by Mark Pottle

Fry, (Sara) Margery (1874–1958), penal reformer and college head, was born at Highgate, London, on 11 March 1874, the eighth child and sixth daughter of Sir Edward Fry (1827–1918), judge of the High Court, Chancery Division, and his wife, Mariabella Hodgkin (1833–1930). Joan Mary Fry...

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Gordon, Mary Louisa (1861–1941), physician and prison inspector, was born on 15 August 1861 at Seaforth in Lancashire, the daughter of James Gordon (1809/10-1894), hide and tallow broker, and his wife, Mary Emily, néeCarter (1831/2-1915). The Gordons had lived for generations in the ...

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See Hill, Rosamond Davenport

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See MacDonald, Malcolm John

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Martin, Sarah (1791–1843), prison visitor, was born in June 1791 at Caister on the Norfolk coast. She was an only child and her father, a local tradesman, and her mother both died in her infancy. She was brought up by her widowed grandmother, a glove maker, and attended ...

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Russell [née Somers-Cocks], Adeline Mary, duchess of Bedford (1852–1920), penal reformer, was born on 24 May 1852, the second daughter of Charles Som̃ers Somers-Cocks, third Earl Somers (1819–1883) and his wife, Virginia (d. 1910), daughter of James Pattle. Her education and upbringing were directly supervised by her powerful and devoted mother. On 24 October 1876 she married ...

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Tree [née Cavendish], Lady Anne Evelyn Beatrice (1927–2010), philanthropist and prison visitor, was born on 6 November 1927 at 2 Upper Belgrave Street, London, the third daughter of Edward William Spencer Cavendish, marquess of Hartington and later tenth duke of Devonshire (1895–1950)...