Florence Ada Keynes (née Brown), by Olive Edis, 1920s - NPG x15455 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Florence Ada Keynes (née Brown)

by Olive Edis
sepia-toned matte print on photographer's card mount, 1920s
6in. x 5 7/8in. (152 mm x 149 mm)
Given by (Mary) Olive Edis (Mrs Galsworthy), 1948
NPG x15455

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Antony Carpen

14 July 2017, 22:42

Cllr Florence Ada Keynes was one of the most pioneering women of the early-mid 20th Century in Cambridge. Students of economics may recognise her as the mother of John Maynard Keynes, the economist and former Treasury civil servant.

As Florence Ada Brown, she was one of the earliest students at Newnham College in the very late 1870s. It was here she met her future husband, John Neville Keynes, who would go onto become Registrar of the University of Cambridge. The couple had three children, Maynard, Margaret (who would go onto marry Nobel Prize winner A.V. Hill), and Geoffrey - later Dr Sir Geoffrey Keynes, an eminent surgeon.

In the mid-1890s, Florence joined the Cambridge Charitable Organisation Society, of which many sister societies existed in towns and cities across the country. She would go onto become the first woman councillor elected to what is now Cambridge City Council, one of five women who would become the first women magistrates in Cambridge just after the end of the First World War, the first woman elevated to the rank of Alderman, and the second woman to become Mayor of Cambridge. She was the chair of the guildhall reconstruction committee, and is responsible for ensuring that Cambridge got a new guildhall - the current one that looks over Market Square.

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