Monday, 27 April 2009


To celebrate 27 April 1759, the birthday of Mary Wollstonecraft, and her life and work, a group walked from Tavistock Square to Wollstonecraft's tombstone in the Church yard of Old St. Pancras. The neighbourhood walk, discovering and discussing history near the now invisible Fleet River, traversed through Bloomsbury, St Pancras, and Kings Cross - from Tavistock Square to Old St Pancras churchyard, to Wollstonecraft's tombstone.

Short Wollstonecraft biography for participants;
Mary Wollstonecraft, born in Spitalfields, London, grew up with her parents and siblings in Epping Forest, Barking, Beverley Yorkshire, Hoxton, and Laugharne Wales. In 1774 she befriended Fanny Blood and in 1778 began her first job as paid companion to Mrs Sarah Dawson, in Windsor and Bath. In 1781 she returned to nurse her mother - who died in 1782. In 1783 Wollstonecraft started her second job, establishing a dissenting Girls School in Islington, where teachers included her lifelong friend Fanny, and her sisters Eliza and Everina.

In 1787 Wollstonecraft published her first work, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters. In 1789-90 The Female Reader, Young Grandison and Elements of Morality for the Use of Children all appeared, and Wollstonecraft became romantically involved with Henri Fuseli.
1791 saw publication of the second edition of Original Stories from Real Life, and Wollstonecraft began writing A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, published 1792. Wollstonecraft's lover Fuseli, his wife and Wollstonecraft came to crisis.

In 1793 Wollstonecraft informally married Gilbert Imlay and had her first daughter with him in 1794, after which he left her, and she repeatedly attempted suicide, latterly in the Thames. In 1796 Wollstonecraft published Letters Written During a Short Residence in Norway Denmark and Sweden. She began an affair with William Godwin, and began writing The Wrongs of Woman. In 1797 Wollstonecraft and Godwin married, their daughter Mary (Shelley) was born, and 10 days after the birth, Wollstonecraft died of septicaemia. Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman were published in 1798. Wollstonecraft's remains at Old St Pancras were later moved with Godwin's to a grave with Mary Shelley at St Peter's Church in Bournemouth.

1 comment:

  1. It was a great walk and a lovely day for it too! If anyone's interested I have uploaded the photos I took: (or

    Thanks to everyone at Living Streets!

    -- jP --