May 18 2013 Latest news:
John Phillips, Senior Reporter
Friday, March 2, 2012
A leading prison reformer who helped clean up Victorian jails will be remembered with a family day tomorrow.
Elizabeth Fry also launched a London night shelter for the homeless and opened a seminal school for nurses in England.
Queen Victoria contributed funds to her causes, including children’s education, and more than 1,000 people attended her funeral in Barking in 1845.
Sometimes known as the “angel of prisons” she is fondly remembered with a picture on £5 notes.
On March 3, Eastbury Manor House in Eastbury Square, Barking, will honour the devout Quaker with a series of activities celebrating her humanitarian work.
The fun day will feature:
* A knowledge quiz about prisons, children’s work, Quakers and Queen Victoria.
* Creative writing allowing children to come up with stories imagining themselves as prisoners and poems about her life.
* Sewing, which she introduced at the overcrowded Newgate Prison near the Old Bailey in the City. This workshop will focus on patchwork stitching.
* Card making that will see youngsters create see through designs showing Elizabeth Fry inside the defunct prison.
* Photography workshops.
Culture cabinet member, Cllr Herbert Collins, said: “I think the Elizabeth Fry themed family workshop is going to be a great way for families to spend time together learning about life in the Victorian era in a fun way.
“The quizzes, card making, sewing and poem writing will offer a fun and educational day out for the family; it may even help children with their schoolwork if they are learning about the Victorians.”
Born to a Norfolk Quaker family, Elizabeth married Joseph Fry aged 20 and went on to have 11 children.
She took summer holidays with her children at fishing cottages in Dagenham Breach in her 40s and also attended services at Becontree Heath Methodist Church in Dagenham.
Elizabeth became concerned with the welfare of female inmates and the children kept with them after witnessing overcrowding at Newgate Prison.
She campaigned to improve living conditions in jails and lobbied parliament and Queen Victoria.
She died from a stroke in Ramsgate, Kent, on October 12, 1845, and was interred at the Quaker burial ground in North Street, Barking.
Her gravestone has been moved to the Quaker Burial Ground in Wanstead but her remains are still at Barking.
The fun day is from 10am-4pm. Tickets are £3 for adults and £1 for children. Workshops cost £2.
For more information call 020 8724 1000.