Sir Francis Ronalds and his Family

Emily Ronalds

Clifton Terrace in Brighton. Emily spent her last years at No. 27, while four of her Field maternal cousins lived at the other end of the street in No. 2

Sir Francis Ronalds' third sister Emily (1795-1889) epitomised the family's interest in social reform, forming friendships with socialists Robert Owen, Fanny Wright and James Pierrepont Greaves that her siblings shared. She helped plan and fund Fanny's experimental community for the emancipation of slaves near Memphis Tennessee in 1825 - forty years before America abolished slavery. With her sister Maria, she also established an early infant school in Croydon based on Owen's educational philosophies.

Like Sir Francis, Emily did not marry, although the topic of beaus came up in their letters. She chose instead to travel widely. Being fluent in German, she spent considerable time in that country, and she also visited her brother Hugh in Illinois in 1824-5. She contemplated taking a trip to Ontario in 1865 to see her distant cousin Lucy, but did not do so.

Emily reached the age of 94 and was the last of the siblings to die.

Further Information

Sir Francis Ronalds: Father of the Electric Telegraph (2016) - published by Imperial College Press