|Born||Frances Elizabeth Greenhow
20 July 1821
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
|Died||9 March 1892
Roundhay, Leeds, England
|Known for||Female education reform|
Frances Elizabeth Lupton (née Greenhow; 20 July 1821 – 9 March 1892) was an Englishwoman of the Victorian era who worked to open up educational opportunities for women. She married into the politically active Lupton family of Leeds, a large city in the North of England, where she co-founded Leeds Girls' High School in 1876.
Her father, Thomas Michael Greenhow, first co-founded the city's Eye Infirmary, with John Fife, and then Newcastle University Medical School. He worked at the Newcastle Infirmary, later renamed the Royal Victoria Infirmary, for many years and was instrumental in its expansion in the 1850s. One of Lupton's brothers was Henry Martineau Greenhow (1829-1912), who followed his father into medicine. He joined the Indian Medical Service and spent his whole career in British India, rising to surgeon major. He was a member of the garrison that withstood the Siege of Lucknow, a key part of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Edward Headlam Greenhow, Lupton's first cousin, was also a physician-educationalist, who made his mark in epidemiology and public health.
Her mother, Elizabeth Martineau, was from the political dynasty of that name. Many of the Martineaus were prosperous merchants in Birmingham, and nationally prominent as Unitarians, a branch of English Dissenters. (In the post-Blitz rebuilding of Essex Hall, the national headquarters for British Unitarians, the architect describes one of the main rooms to be named after the Martineaus.) Her mother's siblings included James, the religious philosopher and professor at Manchester New College, and Harriet, the social theorist and Whig writer, often cited as the first female sociologist. She was educated first at her aunt Rachel's school, but remained close to her aunt Harriet in adulthood. The Unitarian ethos of liberalism and service to society also stayed with her throughout her life.
Marriage and children
In 1847 Frances married Francis Lupton (1813-1884), a member of a prosperous and politically active cloth manufacturing family in Leeds. In addition to his business interests, he was one of the founders of the Yorkshire College of Science in 1874, which later became part of the federal Victoria University, and from 1904 the University of Leeds. The Luptons were, like the Martineaus, a family of Unitarians. They worshipped at the Mill Hill Chapel on Leeds City Square, where a stained glass window commemorates the family.
Frances had married into a family of activists. Take for example her husband's younger brother, Joseph, who served as president and later vice-president of Manchester New College, the training college for ministers where Frances's uncle taught. Joseph was a committed anti-slavery campaigner and a Liberal who sat on the executive of the National Reform Union. He also supported the campaign for votes for women, sitting on the committee for the National Society for Women's Suffrage. The brothers' cousin Jane married the minister at Mill Hill, Charles Wicksteed, an educational reformer in his own right. He co-founded the Leeds Education Society, a precursor to the National Education League.
Francis and Frances lived in villages just outside the industrial city, first at Potternewton, later establishing the family seat at a Georgian country house in Roundhay. Beechwood, which was bought from the politician George Goodman, stayed in the family until the 1990s. Francis ran a successful farm there and continued to work until he died suddenly at the age of 70.
They had five sons, Francis Martineau, Arthur, Herbert (who died young), Charles, and Hugh. When her brother's wife died, she took in their toddler daughter Mabel to raise alongside her own children; the little girl grew up to write prolifically as Mrs Murray Hickson. The four surviving sons contributed to the eminence of the city at its Victorian height, two of them becoming Lord Mayor of Leeds, and gave the couple many grandchildren. Through Olive Middleton, the eldest child of her eldest child Francis Martineau, Frances is the great-great-great-grandmother of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Female education reform
Secular education of women had become a more pressing issue by the middle of the nineteenth century. Girls' schools, including small boarding establishments, had existed for generations (for example Mary Wollstonecraft's school in Newington Green in the 1780s, with ties to its nearby Unitarian chapel, or the Newington Academy for Girls, set up by Quakers in 1824), but a new impetus was given by the founding of colleges offering single-sex education to young women. One example, Queen's College, opened in London in 1848, originally to provide qualifications for governesses. The first girls' schools targeted at university entrance were North London Collegiate School (from 1850) and Cheltenham Ladies' College (from the appointment of Dorothea Beale in 1858). Emily Davies campaigned for women's higher education in the 1860s, and founded Girton in 1869, and Anne Clough founded Newnham in 1875 – both of these colleges were affiliated with but not entirely accepted by the University of Cambridge.
Lupton's aunt Harriet Martineau paid a long visit to the United States in 1834, one of her areas of interest being the emerging girls' schools. In Society in America (1837), the sociologist angrily criticized the state of female education:
"The intellect of women is confined by an unjustifiable restriction of ... education ... As women have none of the objects in life for which an enlarged education is considered requisite, the education is not given ... The choice is to either be ill-educated, passive, and subservient, or well-educated, vigorous, and free only upon sufferance."
In 1871 Lupton became Honorary Secretary to the Ladies’ Honorary Council of the Yorkshire Board of Education, which was then just six years old. She was "the powerful driving force of the organization" and also that of the Leeds Ladies' Educational Association. One of her first successes was setting up a students' library. Soon, the committees had arranged to superintend the first Cambridge Local Examination for women in Leeds.
However, the most pressing need was for better all-round education for girls, equivalent to what boys received at traditional academic grammar school. Established interests prevented the use of existing charitable funds, despite the passage of the Endowed Schools Act 1869, so Lupton led a meeting between the Leeds Association and the Ladies Council to create a new way forward – a joint stock company. Her business acumen led to the establishment of Leeds Girls' High School in 1876.
Lupton and the Ladies Council also saw the need for the dissemination of practical information on traditionally female subjects such as health and nursing. They launched a cookery school in 1874, having requested but not received help from civil servant Sir Henry Cole. In the following decade, the Yorkshire Training School of Cookery developed teacher training courses at the request of the school boards – eventually this formed a component of Leeds Metropolitan University.
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- Bettany, G. T. (2004). "Fife, Sir John (1795–1871), surgeon and politician". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 19 July 2013. "He [Fife] specialized in diseases of the eye, founding in 1822, with T. M. Greenhow, a charity which became the Newcastle Eye Infirmary."
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- "Newcastle Infirmary Time Line 1850–1888". Newcastle University. Retrieved 19 July 2013. "1850: Mr Greenhow, as spokesman for the honorary medical staff, points out that again the Infirmary is inadequate for the needs of the area, which had tripled in population in the last 100 years. The annual report draws the attention of the governors and public to the Infirmaries shortcomings. 1851: Greenhow and Gibb visit hospitals in London and elsewhere to gain insight in modern hospital design, and report back to the committee. On March 13th John Dobson, the famous architect, laid his plans for a new wing and redevelopment of the Infirmary before the committee, and they were agreed on April 3rd. 1855: The Dobson Wing opened, costing £10 500."
- Entry in Plarr's Lives of the Fellows Online, a biographical register of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, written by its librarian Victor Plarr (1863-1929), and hosted by the College 
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