The Historical Birthday-Tea Party March 4th


An actual Birthday! Hurrah, quick, light the candles before I find it’s a mistake.

Emma Cons 4 March 1838 – 24 July 1912

Feminist, educator and stage entrepreneur, Emma ran what is now the Old Vic, in London. At the time it was a coffeehouse-come-music-hall, and she put on operas and Shakespeare. She was an ardent feminist and was fined for voting after being appointed (not elected) the first female alderman on the London County Council, because although she could be an Alderman as a woman, she wasn’t allowed to vote.

Emma was the founder of the wonderful Morley college (I’ve taken courses there, so I know it’s wonderful) and Swanley Horticultural College for Women.

So far so lovely. It gets better.

Emma had deeply passionate emotional relationships with her niece Lillian Baylis, who helped run the Old Vic; and with Octavia Hill, founder of the National Trust, whom she had known from when they were both young, and who she assisted in her housing activities. Emma lived with Ethel Everest for twenty years, and when Emma died it was Ethel who made the funeral arrangements.

Henrietta Barnett described her friend Emma as

…spoke loudly and often aggressively, strode as if she were measuring a plot in yard steps, disliked, positively disliked the male sex…

Ms Cons definitely gets invited to the party, but given her temperance leanings, not to te one with the alcohol.

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Author: Cherry Potts

Cherry Potts is a published fiction writer, publisher, event organiser, photographer, cardmaker, NLP master practitioner, life coach and trainer. She is an enthusiastic singer. Through Arachne Press she publishes fiction and non fiction and runs spoken word events and cross-arts workshops for writers at interesting venues. Always interested in new opportunites to perform, write or explore writing.

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