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Elizabeth Fry

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Elizabeth Fry
Elizabeth Fry
Elizabeth (Betsy) Gurney

(1780-05-21)21 May 1780
Died12 October 1845(1845-10-12) (aged 65)
Ramsgate, Kent, England
Cause of deathStroke
SpouseJoseph Fry (19 August 1800 – 12 October 1845) (11 children)

Elizabeth "Betsy" Fry (21 May 1780 – 12 October 1845), née Gurney, was an English prison reformer and social reformer. She was also a Quaker and a Christian philanthropist. She has sometimes been referred to as the "angel of prisons".

Early life[change | change source]

Fry was very important in the creation of legislation to make the treatment of prisoners more humane. She was supported in her efforts by the monarch at the time, Queen Victoria. She was especially interested in women and children. Fry also wrote a book about prisons in Scotland and Northern England. Since 2001, she has been shown on the Bank of England £5 note.

Fry was born in the Gurney court which is in Norwich, Norfolk. The Gurneys were a Quaker family. Her family home was called the Earlham Hall. This is now part of the University of East Anglia. John Gurney (her father) worked in the Gurney's Bank. Catherine (her mother) was part of the Barclay family. They were the founders of the Barclay's Bank. Elizabeth's mother died when she was only 12 years old.

Fry was one of the eldest girls in her family. After her mother died she helped take care of her younger brothers and sisters.