Frances Lupton

ISBN (identifier) Lupton family Roundhay

Frances Lupton
Frances Elizabeth Greenhow

(1821-07-20)20 July 1821
Died9 March 1892(1892-03-09) (aged 70)
Roundhay, Leeds, England
Known forFemale education reform
Spouse(s)Francis Lupton

Frances Elizabeth Lupton (née Greenhow; 20 July 1821 – 9 March 1892) was an Englishwoman of the Victorian era who worked to open up educational opportunities for women. She married into the politically active Lupton family of Leeds, where she co-founded Leeds Girls' High School in 1876 and was the Leeds representative of the North of England Council for Promoting the Higher Education of Women.

Early life

Lupton was born Frances Elizabeth Greenhow on 20 July 1821, into a medical family in Newcastle upon Tyne.[1]

Her father, Thomas Michael Greenhow, co-founded the city's Eye Infirmary, with Sir John Fife,[2][3] and then Newcastle University Medical School.[4] He worked at Newcastle Infirmary, renamed the Royal Victoria Infirmary, for many years and was instrumental in its expansion in the 1850s.[2][5]

Her mother, Elizabeth, was born into the Martineau family, an intellectual, business, and political dynasty. Many of her relatives were nationally prominent as Unitarians, a branch of English Dissenters; a main hall of the post-Blitz rebuilding of Essex Hall – the national headquarters for British Unitarians – was named after them.[6] Elizabeth grew up in Norwich, attending the Octagon Chapel. Her siblings included James, the religious philosopher and professor at Manchester New College (known today as Harris Manchester College, Oxford University); Harriet, the social theorist and Whig writer, often cited as the first female sociologist;[7] and Robert, Mayor of Birmingham.[8]

Thomas and Elizabeth Greenhow lived in Newcastle's fashionable Old Eldon Square.[9] The couple had several children; Frances and at least two boys. Henry Martineau Greenhow (1829–1912) followed his father into medicine. He joined the Indian Medical Service and spent his career in British India, rising to surgeon major. His garrison withstood the Siege of Lucknow, a key part of the Indian Rebellion of 1857.[10] Another brother, William Thomas Greenhow (1831–1921) became a judge.[11][12] The siblings' first cousin Edward Headlam Greenhow was a physician-academic, who made his mark in epidemiology and public health.[13]

Frances was educated at her aunt Rachel Martineau's school and remained close to Rachel's sister Harriet in adulthood. The Unitarian ethos of liberalism and service to society stayed with her throughout her life.[4]

Marriage and children

Frances married Francis Lupton in 1847

In 1847 Frances married Francis Lupton (1813–1884), a member of a prosperous and politically active cloth manufacturing family in Leeds. In addition to his business interests, he was one of the founders of the Yorkshire College of Science in 1874,[14] which became part of the federal Victoria University, and from 1904 the University of Leeds. The Luptons were Unitarians who worshipped at Mill Hill Chapel on Leeds City Square, where a stained glass window commemorates them.[15]

Frances married into a family of activists. Her husband's younger brother, Joseph Lupton, was president[16] and later vice-president[17] of Manchester New College, the training college for ministers where Frances's uncle taught. He was an anti-slavery campaigner and a Liberal who sat on the executive of the National Reform Union. He sat on the committee for the National Society for Women's Suffrage.[18] The brothers' cousin Jane married the minister at Mill Hill, Charles Wicksteed, an educational reformer. He co-founded the Leeds Education Society,[19] a precursor to the National Education League.

Francis and Frances lived just outside the rapidly industrialising city at Potternewton Hall,[20] later moving to Beechwood, a Georgian country house in Roundhay.[21] Francis had farms at Beechwood and worked as a director of the family wool manufacturing firm until he died suddenly at the age of 70 in 1884.[22]

The Luptons had five sons, Francis Martineau, Arthur, Herbert (who died young), Charles, and Hugh.[1] When her brother's wife died, she took in their daughter Mabel Greenhow to raise alongside her own children; Mabel grew up to write as Mrs Murray Hickson. Her four surviving sons contributed to the civic life of Leeds; two became Lord Mayor of Leeds.[23][24] Through Olive Middleton (1881–1936), the eldest child of her eldest child Francis Martineau (d.1921), Frances Lupton is the great-great-great-grandmother of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.[25][26]

Female education reform


Secular education of women became a more pressing issue by the mid-19th century. Girls' schools, including small boarding establishments, had existed for generations (for example Mary Wollstonecraft's school in Newington Green in the 1780s, with ties to Newington Green Unitarian Church and the Newington Academy for Girls, set up by Quakers in 1824), but a new impetus was given by the founding of colleges offering single-sex education to young women. Queen's College, London opened in London in 1848 to provide qualifications for governesses. The first girls' schools targeted at university entrance were North London Collegiate School (from 1850) and Cheltenham Ladies' College (from the appointment of Dorothea Beale in 1858).[27] Emily Davies campaigned for women's higher education in the 1860s, and founded Girton in 1869, and Anne Clough founded Newnham in 1875 – both of these colleges were affiliated with but not entirely accepted by the University of Cambridge.

Lupton's aunt Harriet Martineau paid a visit to the United States in 1834, one of her areas of interest was the emerging girls' schools. In Society in America (1837), the sociologist criticised the state of female education:

"The intellect of women is confined by an unjustifiable restriction of ... education ... As women have none of the objects in life for which an enlarged education is considered requisite, the education is not given ... The choice is to either be ill-educated, passive, and subservient, or well-educated, vigorous, and free only upon sufferance."[28]

Lupton's impact

Lupton's entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography describes her pioneering work in expanding the opportunities for female education.[4]

In 1871 Lupton became Honorary Secretary to the Ladies' Honorary Council of the Yorkshire Board of Education, which was then just six years old. She was "the powerful driving force of the organization" and also that of the Leeds Ladies' Educational Association. One of her first successes was setting up a students' library. Soon, the committees had arranged to superintend the first Cambridge Local Examination for women in Leeds.[4][26]

However, the most pressing need was for better all-round education for girls, equivalent to what boys received at traditional academic grammar school. Established interests prevented the use of existing charitable funds, despite the passage of the Endowed Schools Act 1869, so Lupton led a meeting between the Leeds Association and the Ladies Council to create a new way forward – a joint stock company. Her business acumen led to the establishment of Leeds Girls' High School in 1876.[4][26]

Lupton and the Ladies Council also saw the need for the dissemination of practical information on traditionally female subjects such as health and nursing. They launched a cookery school in 1874, having requested but not received help from civil servant Sir Henry Cole. In the following decade, the Yorkshire Training School of Cookery developed teacher training courses at the request of the school boards – eventually this formed a component of Leeds Metropolitan University.[4][26]

By 1872, the Manchester Ladies' Educational Association of the North of England Council for Promoting the Higher Education of Women (NECPHEW) was represented by Elizabeth Gaskell's daughter Meta with Frances representing NECPHEW's Leeds Ladies' Educational Association. As a council member, Frances also belonged to the Education for Girls Committee of the Royal Society of Arts which, from 1871, had aligned itself with the aims of NECPHEW.[29][30][31]


Lupton died in 1892 at Beechwood Estate, her home in Roundhay

Lupton died at home at Beechwood on 9 March 1892 and is buried at St John's Church in Roundhay.[1][32]


  1. ^ a b c von Massenbach, Camilla. "Frances Elizabeth Greenhow 1821–1892". Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Newcastle Infirmary Time Line 1801–1849". Newcastle University. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 1832: Thomas Greenhow appointed honorary surgeon to the Infirmary. He had already been surgeon to the lying-in hospital, and in 1822 had established the Eye Infirmary with John Fife.
  3. ^ Bettany, G. T. (2004). "Fife, Sir John (1795–1871), surgeon and politician". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 19 July 2013. He [Fife] specialized in diseases of the eye, founding in 1822, with T. M. Greenhow, a charity which became the Newcastle Eye Infirmary.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Gosden, Peter (2004). "Lupton [née Greenhow], Frances Elizabeth (1821–1892), educationist". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Newcastle Infirmary Time Line 1850–1888". Newcastle University. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 1850: Mr Greenhow, as spokesman for the honorary medical staff, points out that again the Infirmary is inadequate for the needs of the area, which had tripled in population in the last 100 years. The annual report draws the attention of the governors and public to the Infirmaries shortcomings. 1851: Greenhow and Gibb visit hospitals in London and elsewhere to gain insight in modern hospital design, and report back to the committee. On March 13th John Dobson, the famous architect, laid his plans for a new wing and redevelopment of the Infirmary before the committee, and they were agreed on April 3rd. 1855: The Dobson Wing opened, costing £10 500.
  6. ^ Tayler, Kenneth S. (1959). "An Architect's Headache". The History of Essex Hal. Lindsey Press. the meeting-hall on the ground floor, to be named the Martineau Hall, and to be used for meetings of the Council of the General Assembly and similar gatherings, but also to be registered as a place of worship and used for occasional religious services
  7. ^ Hill, Michael R; Hoecker-Drysdale, Susan, eds. (2002). Harriet Martineau: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415945288.
  8. ^ Peterson, Linda H. (21 December 2006). Autobiography – Harriet Martineau. Broadview Press 2007. ISBN 9781460403143. Retrieved 14 June 2013. Harriet visited Birmingham to see her mother, Elizabeth, in 1846. At that time, Harriet's brother, Robert, was Mayor of Birmingham.
  9. ^ Chapple, J. (1997). Elizabeth Gaskell: The Early Years. Manchester University Press. p. 355. ISBN 0719025508. Retrieved 30 July 2019. ... Elizabeth (Lissy) who married a surgeon.... living in the fashionable Eldon Square...
  10. ^ Entry in Plarr's Lives of the Fellows Online, a biographical register of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, written by its librarian Victor Plarr (1863–1929), and hosted by the College [1]
  11. ^ Cassell, J. (1853). "The Popular Educator, Volume 3". John Cassell. p. 116. Retrieved 13 March 2017. On the 4th May, 1853, the ceremony took place in the large hall of King's College, Somerset House...
  12. ^ Mair, R. (1896). "Debrett's Illustrated House of Commons, and the Judicial Bench". Dean & son. p. 354. Retrieved 14 March 2018. HIS HONOUR JUDGE GREENHOW. William Thomas Greenhow, son of the late T. M. Greenhow, Esq., M.D., F.R.C.S., of Chapel Allerton, Leeds, and formerly .......His Honour Judge (W.T.) Greenhow....
  13. ^ Bettany, G. T. (2004). "Greenhow, Edward Headlam (1814–1888), epidemiologist and physician". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  14. ^ Shimmin, Arnold Nixon (1954). The University of Leeds: The First Half-Century. University Press for the University of Leeds. p. 103.
  15. ^ "Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel History". Mill Hill Chapel. Archived from the original on 24 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  16. ^ Davis, V. D. (1932). Manchester College (PDF). George Allen & Unwin Ltd. p. 208.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Proceedings and Addresses on the Occasion of the Opening of the College Buildings and the Dedication of the Chapel, October 18–19, 1893 (PDF). Longmans, Green & Co. 1894. p. preface. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  18. ^ Crawford, Elizabeth (2013). The Women's Suffrage Movement in Britain and Ireland: A Regional Survey. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781136010620.
  19. ^ Fraser, Derek (1980). A History of Modern Leeds. Manchester University Press. p. 231.
  20. ^ "Potternewton Hall, Potternewton Lane". Leodis –A Photographic Archive of Leeds. UK: City of Leeds. Retrieved 17 October 2015. By 1860, the Barker family had sub-divided their estate with Potternewton Hall and 13 acres being sold to Francis William Lupton, a "gentleman" whose family had lived at Potternewton Hall since the early 19th century. The Lupton family had been landowners since the 18th century, owning and developing many properties in and around Leeds, including the Newton Hall Estate, which was adjacent to Potternewton Hall...
  21. ^ Joseph, Claudia (2011). "The Luptons 1847–1930". Kate: The Making of a Princess. New York: William Morrow. ISBN 9780062084699.
  22. ^ Lupton, Charles Athelstane (1965). The Lupton Family in Leeds. Wm. Harrison & Son.
  23. ^ Rayner, Gordon (19 July 2013). "How the family of 'commoner' Kate Middleton has been rubbing shoulders with royalty for a century". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  24. ^ Suttenstall, Margaret L (1988). "Jessie Beatrice Kitson". Stonebarrow. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Royal wedding: Family tree". BBC. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  26. ^ a b c d "Kate Middleton – a Unitarian 'Who Do You Think You Are'". The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches (Great Britain). Archived from the original on 19 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  27. ^ Walford, Geoffrey, ed. (1993). The Private Schooling of Girls: Past and Present. London: Woburn Press. pp. 9–32. ISBN 9780713001860.
  28. ^ Postlethwaite, Diana (Spring 1989). "Mothering and Mesmerism in the Life of Harriet Martineau". Signs. The University of Chicago Press. 14 (3): 583–609. doi:10.1086/494525. JSTOR 3174403.
  29. ^ Murray, Janet H.; Stark, Myra, eds. (2016) [1872], The Englishwoman's Review of Social and Industrial Questions: 1872, Routledge, ISBN 9781315411194
  30. ^ The Englishwoman's Review of Social and Industrial Questions, Garland, 1985 [1874], ISBN 9780824037291
  31. ^ "Announcement by The North of England Council for Promoting the Higher Education of Women (Council)", Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, Royal Society of Arts, 19: 719–720, 1871
  32. ^ "St John's Burial Register 1827–1921". Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2013.