The English Five Pound Note is precious to us here at All Nations. This is not because we need the money—we do, of course—nor is it because on the  5th May, 2017 it ceases to be legal tender. The reason is, because on the reverse side from the Queen is an important picture. Get out a fiver and have a look.

 

The image is Jerry Barrett’s painting, Mrs Fry Reading to the Prisoners in Newgate, in the year 1816 (1863). Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845) was an important prison reformer, attempting to rehabilitate women prisoners. She saw these women as poor instead of “beasts” which is what they were regularly called.

Last Saturday we had an event at College called the Story of Easneye. We heard about Easneye hill, the house and the Colleges which eventually formed All Nations Christian College. We also heard about the Father of the man who had the house built.

He is related to the five pound note in that he is the tall bespectacled man, standing on the far left of the scene. If you have your fiver in your hand, compare him to the image on the right. This is a painting from the Oak Room at All Nations, the old dining room.

His name is Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton and, apart from being Elizabeth Fry’s brother-in-law, he worked with her attempting improve the lives of the women prisoners. In addition to this, he also worked for the abolition of capital punishment, a goal he did not achieve in his lifetime. However, he did see the over 200 capital crimes reduced to 8.

Further, he worked for the release of the slaves, who remained enslaved after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807. A goal achieved in 1838.

The Niger Expedition of 1841 was Buxton’s idea to try and strangle the slave trade at its root. Slaves were still being traded to the USA and Brazil. He wanted to plant farms to grow tobacco, rice, sugar, and other products grown in the West Indies, to eliminate the need to cross the Atlantic.

Finally, Buxton was founding chairman of the RSPCA (SPCA at the time before it was granted a Royal Charter in 1840). Buxton was chairman for the year 1824.

Although Sir Thomas never came to Easneye, he encapsulates many of All Nations’ concerns: for the imprisoned, the oppressed, and even animals and the environment. The Niger Expedition, although it was not successful was an early expression of “Integral”/ “Holistic Mission.”

What an inspiration! Post a few thoughts on our Facebook page or directly below.

Comments

All Nations heritage is so fascinating! I find that I am constantly learning something new, and it never ceases to amaze! :)

Really interesting blog, I will make sure to keep one of the old fivers!

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