Sir Francis Ronalds and his Family

Mary Anne Martineau née Ronalds

Highbury Terrace, Islington. The old Ronalds family home is on the corner of Ronalds Road and displays a green plaque commemorating Sir Francis Ronalds' work

Sir Francis Ronalds' second sister Mary Anne (1794-1882) married one of his old schoolmates, Peter Martineau (1785-1869). Peter was a wealthy sugar refiner and held an important patent on how to decolourise vegetable substances. His cousins included the famous sociologist, author and feminist Harriet Martineau and influential Unitarian philosopher Revd Dr James Martineau.

Mary Anne and Peter enjoyed 53 years together in Highbury Terrace, Islington - the same street where she and Sir Francis had grown up. They were a popular and outgoing couple at the centre of a diverse social circle. They hosted many parties, which often involved family but were also attended by thought-leaders, activists and international visitors, reflecting their interests across the arts, sciences, politics and religion.

Mary Anne and Peter's daughter Sarah (1828-1908) wed Charles Edward Flower (1830-1892), Kate Ronalds née Flower's nephew and a brewer - Flowers ale is still sold today. The couple were important benefactors to the Shakespeare Memorial in Stratford-upon-Avon. They kept a scrapbook with newspaper cuttings about Sir Francis and assisted in gaining public recognition for his achievements. Their copy of his bust is now in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.


Further Information

The Martineau Society