Emily Faithfull

Mar 12th '21

In 1859 Emily Faithfull, an English women’s rights activist joined with other female activists including but not limited to, Jessie Boucherett, Bessie Rayner Parkes, and Barbara Bodichon to form the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women, for which she served as Secretary. Their aim was to open new areas of employment for women and campaigning to improve the standard of education that was available to women at the time.


Influenced by the Society, in 1860 Emily founded the Victoria Press, in Great Coram Street, London. The Victoria Press was a printing press that was established to give women the opportunity to work within the printing trade which until then was a trade almost completely confined to men. Emily employed women as compositors and men to do the presswork.


Within a couple of years, the Victoria Press acquired a strong reputation for quality printing. In 1862 after publishing her first book “The Victoria Regia” Emily Faithfull was appointed “Printer and Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty”. As a result of her work attracting the approval of Queen Victoria.


The Press continued to operate for many years, producing a strong body of work. In 1863 Emily Faithfull established her own journal “The Victoria Magazine” which had thirty-five volumes published and in 1868 she published her own novel “Change upon Change” A love story with an underlying theme about how women need to have access to education.


In later life, she went on to give lectures in both Britain and the United States and in 1875 joined the Women’s Trade Union League. After dedicating her life to improving women’s rights, and making an unforgettable impact in the printing industry, Emily Faithfull died aged sixty, on the 31st May 1895 in Manchester.


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Image: by Rijksmuseum – wikimedia.org