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Frances Mary Buss

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Frances Mary Buss

by James Russell & Sons
albumen print mounted on card, circa 1875
5 3/4 in. x 4 1/8 in. (146 mm x 105 mm)
Purchased, 1998
Primary Collection
NPG P719

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Pioneering Women, p. 71 Read entry

    Frances Buss (1827-94), campaigner for women’s rights and pioneer of education for women, was the founder, then (from 1850 to 1894) head of the North London Collegiate School for Ladies: the first girls’ school targeted at university entrance. She was part of the Kensington Society (formed in 1865), a prime goal of which was increased educational opportunities for women. The first woman to call herself ‘headmistress’, along with Dorothea Beale of Cheltenham Ladies’ College, she was undermined in rhyme, as a spinsterly type, with a career but no love life: ‘Miss Buss and Miss Beale/Cupid’s darts do not feel’. The derogatory nature of the verse is evidence of the hostile opposition to her ambitions for young women at the time, when even the medical profession produced ‘proof’ of the damaging effect of education on girls. Buss ploughed on, regardless, her beliefs consolidated in the Camden School for Girls, the second girls’ school she founded, in 1871. Hers was a radical vision of educated girls, at a time when those two words were deemed not to sit well together.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 93

Events of 1875back to top

Current affairs

Samuel Plimsoll, a back-bench Liberal MP, campaigns for measures to prevent the practice of overloading unseaworthy vessels and claiming insurance. The Plimsoll Line is established; a line drawn on ships, it denotes the maximum legal load a cargo ship is allowed to carry.
The Public Health Act, the work of Richard A. Cross, sets down in detail the responsibilities of local authorities in terms of public health.

Art and science

Anthony Trollope's masterpiece The Way We Live Now is published after serialisation. Containing over 100 chapters, the complex plot, following the fortunes of sham financier Augustus Melmotte, tackles the commercial, political and moral hypocrisy of the age.

International

Disraeli purchases nearly half the total shares in the Suez Canal Company from the bankrupt Egyptian Khedive, Ismail Pasha, securing a controlling interest in the trading route. Since Parliament was not in session at the time, Disraeli borrowed £4 million from the banking family Rothschilds, attracting much criticism from Parliamentary opponents, although he won popularity from the Queen and the public.

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