Sunday, 9 June 2013

Mary, Mrs Humphrey Ward

Mary, Mrs Humphrey Ward Radio 4 has just been discussing her opposition to women's suffrage. She was a well connected, accomplished Victorian Novelist, who used her family and social links, with their associated access to philanthropic wealth, to provide for the poor, especially women & children in central London.   She was actively involved in community education and in childcare / children's play.  It's a pity that all this has been forgotten because of her opposition to the vote.   One of the best adult education colleges near Holborn still bears her name. Its nearby original site is now a conference venue known as Mary Ward House.  One fascinating anecdote is that quite coincidentally both her London family home and her country pile near Tring (where she dug up the formal gardens to grow  veggies in the war) were later owned by the guy who ran the Playboy bunny club!

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