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Fry, Elizabeth Gurney

Born: 1780 AD
Died: 1845 AD, at 65 years of age.

Nationality: English
Categories: Humanitarian, Philanthropist, Social Reformer


1780 - Elizabeth Fry, born on the 21st of May in Gurney Court, off Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk, England to a Quaker family. Her family home as a child was Earlham Hall, Norwich, which is now part of the University of East Anglia. She was a prison reformer, social reformer and philanthropist.

1800 - She married Joseph Fry at age 20.

1812 - Visited a Prison accompanied by her sister-in-law, horrified her. She returned the following day with food and clothes for some of the prisoners.

1816 - She returned visiting prisons and was eventually able to found a prison school for the children who were imprisoned with their parents.    

1817 - She was a key member of an organisation working on behalf of female prisoners and their children and she became well known in society. She made efforts to improve the treatment of prisoners deported to Australia.

1818 - She gave evidence to a House of Commons committee on the conditions prevalent in British prisons, becoming the first woman to present evidence in Parliament.

1819 - 1820 - She also helped the homeless, establishing a "nightly shelter" in London after seeing the body of a young boy in the winter.

1828 - Her work was restricted after her husband became bankrupt.

1845 - She died on the 12th of October at Ramsgate and was buried in the Friends's burial ground at Barking.


Page last updated: 1:55am, 13th Apr '07