This commemoration is a 2018 addition to A Great Cloud of Witnesses and, as such, there no readings or collects assigned as yet.

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Last updated: 11 Aug. 2018


Social Reformer, 1845


Elizabeth FryElizabeth Fry (21 May 1780 – 12 October 1845) was an English prison reformer, social reformer and, as a Quaker, a Christian philanthropist. She has sometimes been referred to as the "angel of prisons".

Fry was a major driving force behind new legislation to make the treatment of prisoners more humane, and she was supported in her efforts by Queen Victoria. She was depicted on the Bank of England £5 note from 2001-2016.

Prompted by a family friend,Fry visited Newgate Prison in 1813. The conditions she saw there horrified her.The women's section was overcrowded with women and children, some of whom had not even received a trial. The prisoners did their own cooking and washing in the small cells in which they slept on straw.

She returned the following day with food and clothes for some prisoners. Fry returned in 1816 and was eventually able to fund a prison school for the children who were imprisoned with their mothers. In 1817 she helped found the Association for the Reformation of the Female Prisoners in Newgate. This led to the eventual creation of the British Ladies' Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners in 1821. She also promoted the idea of rehabilitation instead of harsh punishment which was taken on by the city authorities in London as well as many other authorities and prisons.

She was also active in other humanitarian work, including helping the homeless, abolishing the slave trade, and opening a school for nurses.

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