Conclusion: The Reception, Significance and Influence of the Early Feminists

  • Kathryn Gleadle
Part of the Studies in Gender History book series (SGH)


Gradually, the feminist cadre began to drift apart. The tight web of personal, reforming and journalistic threads which had linked the various sections of the community together became increasingly frayed. By the late 1840s, the original South Place Circle had all but evaporated. The deaths of the Flower sisters in 1846 and 1848 had been a sore blow and the vacuum they left was compounded both by Fox’s poor health and his absorption in parliamentary affairs as a Member of Parliament.1 Home and William Howitt demonstrated the extent to which their own commitment to British social reform was increasingly subjugated to new interests by leaving for Australia in 1852. Howitt returned in 1854, but Horne remained there for many years.2 The Ashurst circle had been devastated by the death of Eliza Ashurst during childbirth in 1850 — her powerful personality and committed feminist objectives were a tremendous loss to the early movement — and a terrific personal shock to the intimate Muswell Hill Brigade.3 However, equally disastrous for the early feminists was the disappearance of Mary Leman Grimstone from the scene. Grim-stone, always an elusive character, appears to have also died around this date.4 Her work had proved to be a well of constant inspiration to the radical reformers.


Feminist Movement Lower Middle Classis Weekly Newspaper Woman Question Early Feminist Disease 
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Copyright information

© Kathryn Gleadle 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn Gleadle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of WarwickEngland

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