The Historical Birthday-Tea Party February 21st


Dame Lilian Barker by permission NPG

Dame Lilian Barker by permission NPG

I’m a day late, sorry, but here is the Birthday news for February 21st.

Now: if I say Prison Reformer, the most likely image to come to your mind is Elizabeth Fry. Ms Fry was an excellent woman and to be admired, but put her to one side for a minute and consider (fanfare)

Lilian Barker DBE 1874-1955,

daughter of a Kentish Town tobacconist, teacher and superintendent of the Woolwich Arsenal during WWI, Lilian from 1923 ran a Borstal for women and girls (including murderers, for whom she expressed much fellow-feeling). She revolutionised their treatment, bringing in her friends to develop an education facility, and treating the inmates as human beings – always with a bag of sweets to share. She was appointed assistant commissioner of prisons in 1935 and did much to improve women’s prisons throughout the UK.

She lived for most of her life with Florence Francis (known as Fluff).

Lilian would be welcomed with open arms at the party, and as she clearly had a sweet tooth, I think meringues had better be on the menu. (any excuse!)

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