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. Kimmins was described in Punch as "... in her quiet practical way is probably as good a friend as London ever had".
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. 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.
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.
Grace and Charles Kimmins had two sons:
- Lieutenant-General Sir Brian Charles Hannam Kimmins
- Anthony Martin Kimmins (10 November 1901 – 19 May 1964), actor, director and producer
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.
- Kimmins, Grace (6 January 2010). The Guild of Play Book of Festival and Dance (PT.1). Unknown. ISBN 978-1152560420.[note 1]
- Kimmins, Grace (6 January 2010). The Guild of Play Book of Festival and Dance (PT.2). Unknown. ISBN 978-1152683068.[note 1]
- Kimmins, Grace (1 August 2012). Peasant Dances of Many Lands. Lightning Source UK Ltd. ISBN 978-1290484572.[note 1]
- 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.
- 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.)
- Punch, volume 156, 9 April 1919
- "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.
- Anthony Kimmins profile at IMDb
- Posthumous publication
- Works by or about Grace Kimmins at Internet Archive
- "Botches" (Scroll down to find "Botches")
- Chailey 1914–1918
- Chailey Heritage Hospital
- Chailey Heritage School Remembers Queen Mother
- Heritage Craft School in Chailey