Grace Kimmins

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Dame Grace Thyrza Kimmins, DBE (née Hannam; 6 May 1870 – 3 March 1954)[1] was a British writer who created charities that worked with children who had disabilities.[2]


Kimmins was born in Lewes, Sussex, the eldest of four children born to cloth merchant James Hannam, cloth merchant, and Thyrza Rogers. She was educated at Wilton House School in Bexhill.

Juliana Horatia Ewing's 1885 novel The Story of a Short Life inspired Kimmins to start the Guild of the Poor Brave Things to help children with disabilities in London. Grace (and later Ada Vachell took their motto Laetus sorte mea ("Happy in my lot") from Ewing's book.[2] Kimmins was described in Punch as "... in her quiet practical way is probably as good a friend as London ever had".[3]

She became a Wesleyan deaconess and worked in both the Methodist West London Mission and the Bermondsey Settlement, where she moved in 1895. In 1897, she married Charles William Kimmins.[1] She was active in the foundation and continuance of charitable foundations, particularly those concerned with children's play and the welfare of poor and disabled children.[2][1]

She founded, caused to be founded or was involved in the Methodist West London Mission, Bermondsey Settlement, Chailey Heritage, Guild of Play, and Guild of the Poor Brave Things. She was also a writer; her only published novel, Polly of Parker's Rents (1899) explored children living in poverty.[2]


She was named CBE in 1927 and promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1950.[1][2]


Grace and Charles Kimmins had two sons:


Dame Grace Kimmins died in Haywards Heath Hospital on 3 March 1954, aged 83.


  • Kimmins, Grace; Pearse, F. Mabelle (Illustrator) (1899). Polly of Parker's Rents. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1437225778.
  • Kimmins, Grace (1928). Songs from the Plays of William Shakespeare with Dances. Novello and Co. ASIN B0000CY6X3.
  • Kimmins, Grace (1948). Heritage Craft Schools and Hospitals, Chailey, 1903–1948. Baynard. ASIN B001ORGKQQ.



  1. ^ a b c d Staff (5 March 1954). "Dame Grace Kimmins, A Remarkable Woman". Sussex Express & County Herald. Lewes, Sussex. p. 9. Retrieved 10 August 2014 – via The British Newspaper Archive.
  2. ^ a b c d e Seth, Koven. "Kimmins [née Hannam], Dame Grace Thyrza (1870–1954), child welfare reformer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/34315. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Punch, volume 156, 9 April 1919
  4. ^ "Survey of the Papers of Senior UK Defence Personnel, 1900–1975 – KIMMINS, Sir Brian Charles Hannam (1899–1979), Lieutenant General". King's College London Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  5. ^ Anthony Kimmins profile at IMDb


  1. ^ a b c Posthumous publication

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