At our last business meeting we had a presentation about Mary Anne Rawson, an early anti-slavery campaigner and champion for children’s education.
Mary Anne was born in 1801. In 1825 she was a founder member and secretary of the Sheffield Female Anti-Slavery Society.This society campaigned for an immediate end to slavery in the BritishEmpire and also achieved a decrease in the sales of coffee and sugar form slave plantations. The society was active until 1833 when the abolition legislation was passed.
Mary Anne then joined the Sheffield Ladies Association for the Universal Abolition of Slavery, which campaigned for the case of slaves across the world.
Mary Anne was widowed early in her life and brought up her young daughter on her own. However, she was wealthy in her own right. Her family home was Wincobank Hall and she opened a free school for local children in the chapel in the grounds. In 1860 she created a financial trust for the school which continued until 1905. She died in 1887 and is buried in Zion Graveyard, having travelled widely in pursuit of her charitable interests.
Zion Graveyard and Wincobank Chapel are now run as charitable trusts.
We were fascinated to learn about the work of this inspirational lady, particularly in regard to her antislavery campaigns and work to educate poor children in the 1800’s.