Elizabeth Fry and Fine Cell Work

while researching the history of quilting, I came across Elizabeth Fry a Quaker who in 1816 had attempted “to improve conditions for female prisoners at Newgate Prison, by teaching them religious principles, habits of order, sobriety and industry which may render them docile and peaceable while in prison and respectable when they leave it” she taught the prisoners needlework and, provided the means for them to make quilts whilst on board the convict ships to Botany Bay, to sell when they got there.

There are some parallels with Fine Cell Work which was started by Lady Anne Tree in 1960 and now teaches needlework to prison inmates in 26 prisons (80% of them men) The very poignant testimonials of prisoners who have improved both their prison lives and their lives outside, show that  there are huge benefits to enabling people to create things and sell them  in this environment,  and designs have been donated by Karen Nicol and Daisy de Villeneuve. just have a tiny seed of  discomfort with the “render them docile” part but perhaps Elizabeth Fry was adept at presenting the right spin to the people in charge, in order to get permission

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This entry was published on January 5, 2011 at 10:09 am and is filed under art vs craft. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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