Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Annette and Fanny Akroyd

These sisters were in their mid twenties when thay signed the petition. Annette went on to set up a school for girls in India. She and her sister had been students at Bedford College, and after they left, their teachers invited them to join the Kensington Society to keep up their studies. This was a discussion society- members (about 68, many of whom were teachers or students) got a list of questions to write upon. These short essays were circulated, so that even if members lived away from London, they could share their ideas. At one meeting Barbara Bodichon gave a paper suggesting votes for women, and with encoragement from J S Mill MP, the members collected a petition. Annette later became Mrs Beveridge, and her son's report in the next century led to the founding of the welfare state.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Jane Ardill

Jane Ardill was about 25 when she signed the petition from 9 Moor Street, Leeds. Her father was a farmer. and had also a business. When she was a child he had worked as a cordwainer, and later manufactured hooks and fastenings. She had trained as a teacher by being a pupil teacher, and may have heard about the petition from Mrs Heaton and Miss Ellen Heaton of Woodhouse Leeds. Mrs Heaton was the Doctor's wife, and his sister Ellen patronised the pre-Raphaelites as well as campaigning to improve the education of women. Jane may have met them through the Leeds Ladies Education Association, which offered lectures for local teachers and other women keen to improve their knowledge. By 1871 Jane was married, and had a young son.

Anna Maria Ainsworth

Anna Maria Ainsworth was only 21 when her mother Sarah Jane Oxley left her second husband after he had physically abused her. Sarah Jane was forced to return to her violent husband, but after his return to Canada and death there in 1874, she remained in Southport. Anna Maria and her sister Helena, (both unmarried), were still living with their mother in 1901.

Oops! Jane Ardill as described above was married by 1866- It was her mother Jane- born in 1820 -who must have signed the petition. By 1881 she was widowed and living with her daughter Mary and son in law John Dufton in York.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Mary and Mary Ann Ackworth

Mary Ackworth (ne Brindley) was one of the older women to sign the petition, at the age of sixty two. Her thirty three year old daughter Mary Ann signed too. They were the family of the president of Rawdon Baptist College, Bradford , James Ackworth, and lived at 3 Rawdon Villas when they signed. Even in retirement in Scarbourough in 1881 the family still kept three servants including a ladies maid to care for mother and daughter. They were inconsistent in the spelling of the surname, and may be relatives of Edward Acworth and the Acworth Greens.

Kate Fanny Ackland

The reason that I could not find Kete Ackland in the 1871 census was that she married in 1867, a few months after signing the petition. Her husband was an attendant at the British Museum, Mr Berridge, and she had one daughter, who became an elementary school teacher.

I was intrigued because at the time of the Petition, Emily Davies was also organising the London Association of Schoolmistresses. One of the many members was a Miss Berridge, who taught at Queen's College London. I have not found any connection with Kate's husband, but this could be a possibility... Teachers employed in a large successful school such as this might support the petition, but want to avoid the publicity.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Kate Fanny Ackland. Sarah Avery

I can't believe that it is so long since I wrote here. My new years resolution is to add a woman a day! If I do that I will still be going in five years' time.
My new strategy is to also enter any women whose family I can trace on a tree in Ancestry.com and lead their ancestors to this blog to celebrate their relative.

I have not been able to find out anything about Sarah Avery of Battle, Sussex. Many of the women who signed in Battle were shopkeepers in the High Street- but no trace of Sarah- But lets remember her here as one of the few women who can not be traced.

Kate Ackland is the second woman on the list., Kate was only twenty two when she signed, and living at 14 Buckingham Street, off the Strand in central London. The 1861 census shows her at home with her parents at Birkbeck House, Archway Road, Hornsey. Her father was a parliamentary election agent and she had an elder sister and four younger siblings. The family was well to do as they had two live-in servants, Eliza Travers and Elizabeth Meredith and the seventeen year old groom who slept over the stable. In 1871 Kate no longer lived at home