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Mary Wollstonecraft

Person  Female  Born 27/4/1759  Died 10/9/1797

Writer, philosopher and feminist before her time. Born Primrose Street, Spitalfields. Her radical book "Vindication of the Rights of Woman" (1792) in which she described marriage as "legal prostitution" caused great controversy. She went to France to see the revolution for herself. William Blake was a friend and illustrated some of her work. She had a passionate friendship with Fuseli who was married and probably bi-sexual. Mary had a daughter, Fanny, with the American chancer, Gilbert Imlay. On behalf of his business interests she travelled in Scandinavia, taking her baby with her. She married William Godwin (shocking some of their radical friends) in March 1797 and soon afterwards, her second daughter, Mary, was born but the mother died eleven days later, at the Polygon in Somers Town. At the age of 16 this daughter was to become Mary Shelley.

Mary Wollstonecraft was buried at St. Pancras' Churchyard (where she had been married only five months before). Godwin was buried with her in 1836, but in 1851 their remains were moved to St Peter's churchyard, Bournemouth when St. Pancras' churchyard was broken up for the railroad to St. Pancras' Station. The tombstone is still there. It does not appear as a memorial on this website (since we don't generally include graves) but by virtue of five other memorials the churchyard is well covered on this website and worth a visit; either virtual (start with Burdett-Coutts) or real.

Wollstonecraft set up a school in Newington Green. From Newington Green Primary School, Matthias Road: "There has been a school on this site since 1784, when Mary Wollstonecraft ... set up school for girls on this site, with her sister Eliza." But Roberta Wedge says: "The church and Richard Price’s house could be seen from the school which Mary Wollstonecraft ran from 1784-1786 but the exact site of the building is no longer there. The exact site of the school is unknown, but it may well have been on the north-east corner, roughly where Newington Green Primary School is today." Wikipedia says Wollstonecraft moved this school from Islington. This is when Wollstonecraft moved to Newington Green and became a good friend of Dr Richard Price, another radical thinker, and minister at Newington Green Unitarian Church – see actuarial science for Price’s other life. Although a lifelong Anglican Wollstonecraft was a member of the congregation at Price's church.

The Islington Tribune provides some explanation for the pink plaques at Newington Green: "Letters written by Ms Wollstonecraft with Jane Arden and Fanny Blood revealed passionate relationships beyond the boundaries of friendship. She also had an affair with artist Henry Fuseli and asked for a polyamorous relationship involving his wife."

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This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Mary Wollstonecraft

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Mary Wollstonecraft - E8

Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759 - 1797, author of 'A Vindication of the Right of Wo...

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Mary Wollstonecraft - Islington's Pride

Mary Wollstonecraft The trailblazing feminist writer had passionate relations...

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Mary Wollstonecraft - N16

Plaque unveiled by councillor Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, Un...

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Mary Wollstonecraft - NW1

2019: Ann Pearson wrote questioning the absence of any reference on the plaqu...

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Mary Wollstonecraft - SE1

Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759 - 1797, writer, teacher and champion of women's rig...

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This section lists the memorials created by the subject on this page:
Mary Wollstonecraft

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Mary Wollstonecraft, statue for

The quotation is from Wollstonecraft's 1792 'A Vindication of the Rights of W...

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