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7 People in sitter grouping: Pioneer Club

Emily Masingberd’s dedication to creating a space where any woman could come to meet friends, dine, read and debate the issues of the day, in well kept and equipped rooms, was realised in the founding of the Pioneer Club in 1892 It became a refuge for progressive ‘New Women’, where they could engage in higher thought and associated issues such as temperance and suffrage, as well as attending cultural events. Lectures addressed emerging subjects such as ‘The effect on the brain of street noises’ and ‘The conflict between marriage and career’, and membership fees were kept low, heavily subsidised by Massingberd herself. The club changed premises many times, and it was the move shortly after Massingberd’s death that split the group, with Leonora Philipps establishing the ‘Grosvenor Crescent Club’. The Pioneers continued to meet throughout the interwar years, but the club was eventually wound up in 1939, when continuing financial difficulties forced its closure.

Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett (née Garrett)

1847-1929
Leader of the constitutional women's suffrage movement and author
Sitter in 13 portraits

Sarah Grand (Frances Elizabeth Bellenden McFall, née Clarke)

1854-1943
Novelist and women's rights campaigner
Sitter in 3 portraits

(Jenny Julia) Eleanor Marx (later Marx-Aveling)

1855-1898
Socialist writer and activist
Sitter in 1 portrait

L.T. Meade (née Elizabeth Thomasina Meade)

1854-1914
Writer; wife of Alfred Toulmin Smith
Sitter in 1 portrait

Hannah Smith (née Whitall) (Mrs Pearsall Smith)

1832-1911
Evangelist and religious writer
Sitter in 47 portraits

Lady Henry Somerset (Lady Isabella Caroline Somerset (née Somers-Cocks))

1851-1921
Temperance activist and campaigner for women's rights; wife of Lord Henry Somerset
Sitter in 5 portraits

Frances Elizabeth Willard

1839-1898
Social activist and suffragist
Sitter in 2 portraits