Jane Bunford

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Jane Bunford
Born
Jane Bunford

(1895-07-26)26 July 1895
Died1 April 1922(1922-04-01) (aged 26)
Bartley Green, Northfield, Birmingham
Known forTallest recognised British person
Height2.41 m (7 ft 11 in)

Jane Bunford (26 July 1895 – 1 April 1922)[1] was the one of the tallest women ever measuring 2.41 metres (7 ft 11 in) at the time of her death (adjusted for spinal curvature). She was the tallest woman in the world during her lifetime.

Early life[edit]

Bunford's parents were John Bunford (14 March 1856-10 December 1916) and Jane Bunford (Nee Andrews) (April 1857–1934)[1] of Bartley Green, Northfield, Birmingham, UK. Her father was a metal caster. She was a quiet, shy child who enjoyed good health during the first 11 years of her life, while she was quite tall for her age, her growth rate was not unusual before her accident. In June 1906, she stood 1.52 metres (5 ft 0 in) tall.

Accident[edit]

In 1906, at the age of 11, Bunford fractured her skull after falling off her bicycle and hitting her head on the pavement. It is believed that the injury permanently damaged her pituitary gland, releasing an excess of growth hormone which sent her growth out of control. The accident also indirectly led to her death.

School[edit]

Bunford attended St. Michael's Secondary School in Bartley Green. At school she displayed a talent for embroidery but the desks and chairs became too uncomfortable for her to sit at. She was also severely mocked and taunted by other children over her rapid growth and height. A Mrs Booth who knew Bunford said it was difficult for her to get through the school doors. [2] As a result of both factors, Bunford's parents took her out of school before her 13th birthday. On her 13th birthday she was measured at 1.98 metres (6 ft 6 in) tall.[3] At age 19 in 1914, she was measured at 2.33 metres (7 ft 8 in) tall. On her 21st birthday Bunford was measured at 2.39 metres (7 ft 10 in) tall, her peak standing height. Mrs Booth also said Bunford had to have her shoes specially made at Halesowen as she had size 17 feet.[4]

Later life[edit]

Bunford rejected several opportunities to benefit financially from her size and appearance. She had straight long auburn hair. In her final years Bunford became a recluse. She hated the attention her size brought her, and her spine developed a severe curvature. Because of this, Bunford could not stand fully erect towards the end of her life. By the end of her life, Bunford was also in pain because of joint problems and other ailments.[5] She often baby-sat young children in the area, as a favour for neighbors. Bunford had a close friend named Emma, who was a dwarf and lived nearby.[citation needed]

Death and funeral[edit]

Shortly before her death, Bunford was measured at 7 feet 7 inches (2.31 m) tall. It was estimated that she would have been 7 feet 11 inches (2.41 m), if she had not developed the spinal curvature.[6]

Bunford died at her home in Jiggins Lane on 1 April 1922. According to her death certificate, Bunford died of hyperpituitarism and gigantism.[7]

The funeral was held at St Michaels and All Angels Church, Bartley Green, on 5 April 1922. According to undertaker's records published in General Practitioner, her coffin was 2.50 metres (8 ft 2 in) long and was probably the longest ever used for a UK funeral. A Mrs Booth, who knew Bunford, claimed in February 1972 that she had beautiful hair, a very deep voice but was very gentle and said no local people were allowed to enter the church. The story featured on ATV on 27 January 1972 and 14 March 1972.[8][9][10]

Preceded by
Unknown
Tallest Recognized Woman
?-1982
Succeeded by
Zeng Jinlian
Preceded by
Unknown
Tallest Recognized Woman ever
?-1982
Succeeded by
Zeng Jinlian
Preceded by
Unknown
Tallest Recognized British Person ever
?-present
Succeeded by
-

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]