Ellen Pinsent

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Dame

Ellen Frances Pinsent

DBE
Born
Ellen Frances Parker

(1866-03-26)March 26, 1866
Died10 October 1949
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
OccupationMental health worker
Spouse(s)Hume Chancellor Pinsent
Children
Parent(s)
  • Richard Parker
  • Elizabeth Coffin
RelativesRobert Parker, Baron Parker of Waddington (brother)
Edgar Adrian (son-in-law)

Dame Ellen Frances Pinsent DBE (née Parker; 26 March 1866 – 10 October 1949) was a British mental health worker, and first female member of the Birmingham City Council.

Family[edit]

Ellen Frances Parker was born in Claxby, Lincolnshire, the daughter of the Rev. Richard Parker and his second wife, Elizabeth Coffin.[1] Her brother Robert Parker was a barrister and a chancery judge.[2] In 1888, she married Hume Chancellor Pinsent (1857-1920), a relative of the philosopher David Hume, and they had three children.[3] Their two sons, David Hume Pinsent and Richard Parker Pinsent,[4] were killed in the First World War, and their daughter, Hester, married the Nobel-prize winner Edgar Douglas Adrian, a peer.[5][6]

Career[edit]

Pinsent chaired the Special School Sub-Committee of the Birmingham Schools Committee from 1901 to 1913.[7][8] In 1904, she was the sole female member of the Commission on the Care and Control of the Feebleminded.[5][9]

On 1 November 1911, Ellen Pinsent was the first woman elected to serve on Birmingham City Council.[7] She represented the Edgbaston Ward as a Liberal Unionist.[7] She stood down from the council in October 1913 upon appointment as commissioner on the Board of Control for Lunacy and Mental Deficiency.[7][10]

Pinsent worked for many years with the Central Association for Mental Welfare.[5] She was a founder of the National Association for the Care of the Feebleminded, an active member of the Eugenic Education Society,[11][12] and served on the general committee of the First International Eugenic Conference. Her support for eugenic policies is reflected in the provisions of the Mental Deficiency Act 1913.[2][3] She was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1937.[1]

Pinsent also wrote fiction, including the novels Jenny's Case, No Place for Repentance, Job Hildred, and Children of this World.[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

Dame Ellen Pinsent died in 1949, aged 83 years, and her funeral was held in Wootton.[5] The Dame Ellen Pinsent Special Primary School (for children with learning disabilities) in Birmingham is named after her.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hartley, Cathy (2003). A Historical Dictionary of British Women. Psychology Press. p. 354. ISBN 978-1-85743-228-2.
  2. ^ a b Kevles, Daniel J. (1995). In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity. Harvard University Press. pp. 98. ISBN 978-0-674-44557-4.
  3. ^ a b Enright, Mairead (22 March 2018). "Shifting the Boundaries of the Public and the Private : Ellen Pinsent, Women and the Mental Deficiencies Act 1913". Gender and Legal History in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Sunningwell War Memorial: Richard Parker Pinsent". Archived from the original on 15 August 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d "Dame Ellen Pinsent". Mental Health. 9 (2): 50. November 1949. ISSN 0025-9632. PMC 5078226.
  6. ^ Thom, D. (2004). "Adrian [née Pinsent], Hester Agnes, Lady Adrian (1899–1966), penal reformer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/65865. Retrieved 28 March 2020. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ a b c d Roberts, Sian (4 March 2015). "'My whole time is given to the service of my fellow citizens' – the first women elected to Birmingham City Council". Library of Birmingham. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  8. ^ Commons, Great Britain Parliament House of (1908). Parliamentary Papers. H.M. Stationery Office. p. 456.
  9. ^ Brown, Anna (September 2005). "Ellen Pinsent: Including the 'feebleminded' in Birmingham, 1900–1913". History of Education. 34 (5): 535–546. doi:10.1080/00467600500221240. ISSN 0046-760X. S2CID 145071052.
  10. ^ "Mental Welfare Work". The Guardian. 7 December 1922. p. 11. Retrieved 28 March 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Soloway, Richard A. (1 February 2014). Demography and Degeneration: Eugenics and the Declining Birthrate in Twentieth-Century Britain. UNC Press Books. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-4696-1119-8.
  12. ^ Bartley, Dr Paula; Bartley, Paula (12 November 2012). Prostitution: Prevention and Reform in England, 1860-1914. Routledge. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-134-61071-6.
  13. ^ "Home". Dame Ellen Pinsent School. Retrieved 27 March 2020.