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Fry, Sara Margery (1874–1958), penal reformer and college head
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Letter from Margery Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

22 Willow Rd, Hampstead. - Writing on her brother Roger's behalf: apologises that he has no time this week to meet Trevelyan but would like very much to see him next week. Helen is sleeping and eating well; she was very restless on Sunday but quieter now, though more depressed. Roger visited yesterday but did not see her. Her doctor seems to have encouraged him to be hopeful, but he evidently expects a long period of recovery.

Letter from Margery Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Madeira Cottage, Lyme Regis. - Good of Trevelyan to write so promptly about the scheme for a masque to mark the opening of the new Library [at Somerville College, Oxford, see 4/55 and 4/56]; sketches the loggia below the library, with disposition of pillars inside and steps in front, where she thinks the masque could be put on. Expects she could get twenty or thirty performers; it would be convenient if a rout of beasts were included as many old students made themselves costumes for a former performance. Feels it should be more of a pageant than a drama: does not think there are any particularly good actors, and it would fit the spirit of the occasion. The opening of the library will be early in June, which may not leave Trevelyan enough time.

Letter from Margery Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

48 Clarendon Rd, W.11. Has been too long in thanking Bob - if she may 'still use that familiarity' - for his pamphlet ["From the Shiffolds"]. Hears 'echoes of [his] life from time to time through the younger generation'; thinks her 'young cousin Tony' [Anthony Fry?] has been to see him, who she believes in 'as an artist & a person'. Hopes that both Trevelyans keep well: 'happy one can't be now... though of course the sun warms the top-soil from time to time'; afraid there will not be a peace sufficient to 'remedy this deep distrust of the future', though perhaps one which will 'outlast our own generation'.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

22 Willow Road, Hampstead. - Finds it hard to write what he feels about the suggestion put to him by [John?] Withers: Bob's 'constant and affectionate interest' is 'one of the most precious things' in his life; if it were necessary he would accept [the offer of help], which he cannot imagine doing from someone like Bob; expresses his gratitude and 'the sense of perfect reliance and affection'. His father has given him some help, and B.B. [Bernard Berenson] has managed to sell the Venetians; Fry has also nearly finished three restorations. When he has done so, and written some reviews, he intends to get to work on Bob's 'rabbits' picture [see 13/17]. Helen is not quite recovered, but nearly; the nurse has gone and she is taking an interest in household things; Edith [her sister] is making sure everything runs smoothly.

The Old Masters [exhibition at the Royal Academy] are 'the chief interest in now' London; disagrees with the attribution of a picture in it to Dürer, but [Charles] Holmes 'committed the Athenaeum' to it while Fry was away. Bob might like to join the new Arundel Club, fpr the reproduction of works of art in private collections. The "Burlington [Magazine]" is doing well and Holmes is showing 'infinite energy & business capacity' [as editor]. Relates a scandal created when [William Bell] Paterson asked Fry for his opinion on a painting, which Fry judged to be largely modern paint over the possible outline of a Giovanni Bellini; the painting turned out to have been sold by K[err] Lawson to Coates [unidentified] for a large sum; 'always feared that K.L. was not over scrupulous about his ascription of pictures' and thinks this may damage him 'considerably'; Kerr Lawson has 'sent his "Titian" as a Bonifazio [Veronese] to the Old Masters [exhibition] and ought to sell that.

Would be 'jolly' if Bob could write [Fry's sister] Margery's masque [for the opening of the new library at Somerville College, Oxford, see 4/55 and 4/104]; hope he has forgiven the suggestion he could 'polish it off quickly', as Fry likes to 'think of a poet as a perennial fount, bubbling up and overflowing with limpid words', and praises his skill with mythology. Has written 'an extravanganza on Blake for the Burlington' ["Three pictures in tempera by William Blake', Burl. Mag, Mar 1904 4 p 204]. Julian is very amusing, and has begun to sing a little; Edith has a cello here and Fry is accompanying her 'in very simple things' - tells Bob not to let his wife know - which Helen enjoys.

Letter from Margery Fry to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

48 Clarendon Road, London, W.11.—Wishes him to meet some of her friends among the Free French, who are concerned by political developments within that movement.



48 Clarendon Road, London, W.11
9. II. 42

Dear Fred

First I’ve never congratulated you—or much more us on your leadership. It’s been a piece of good news in a period of bad.

Now I go on to ask your help. I have some friends among the Free French, themselves very anti-Fascist—& more than a little perturbed at the turn things are taking in that movement.

I do think that—even with all you have upon you now—it is important that you should know the dangers, &, still more that you should advise as to whether there are any possible safeguarding measures to be taken.

Could you allow me to bring them to see you at the House for half an hour some day? Friday Feb. 13 or Friday Feb. 20 would probably be the best days for them & for me—have you any possible free times then.

I am here for this week though I am a good deal in the country. Perhaps your secretary could ring me up some time.

I really am sorry to bother you, but it’s one of the cases where one daren’t not try to help: so forgive me!

Yours v. sincerely
Margery Fry

Letter from Margery Fry to F. W. Pethick-Lawrence

48 Clarendon Road, London, W.11.—Urges him to support the demand for an inquiry into the conditions in remand homes, if the question is raised in Parliament.



48 Clarendon Road, LONDON, W.11.
23rd November, 1944.

Dear Fred,

You will have seen accounts of the attack made by John Watson on the London Remand Homes. I did not feel I could join in this publicly, as I had not visited the temporary Home which is particularly in question, but it was more than a single case which prompted Watson.

So far as I know every single London Children’s Court Magistrate with whom I have worked or talked, has been for some time thoroughly unhappy about the condition of these Homes. The children are not kept clean. One little lad who came to me for a week was dressed in filthy underclothes. Whereas every prison in the country tries to send people to Court looking reasonably tidy, the children are allowed to appear week after week without any attempt being made to wash their clothes or tidy them up in the interval.

There are graver matters of unsatisfactory staff, and of the failure to provide sufficiently classified accommodation for children ranging from little unfortunates, whose only “offence” is their need of care or protection, to the really toughest specimens (and some of them are quite tough) of the London slums.

To my knowledge private attempts to move the L.C.C. have been made again and again by Magistrates who are members of that body, but nothing drastic has been done.

The reason I am now writing to you about this question is that there is a possibility of its being raised in the House next Monday. There seems to be some fear that the issue may be treated on lines of party politics as a Tory attack on a Labour administration. It would be a thousand pities if Labour were not in the forefront in trying to obtain better conditions for these children, almost all of the poorer classes.

An enquiry into the London Homes would not only almost certainly lead to their being improved, but would have useful repercussions on Remand Homes throughout the country.

Actually, the arrangements for remand are one of the weakest links in our defence against Juvenile Delinquency. I do not mind going further and saying that they are probably in some cases actually leading to delinquency. Magistrates are frequently obliged to use the Remand Home, often very much against their will, either because there are no suitable home conditions, or because it is the one way of getting medical and psychological reports made. Moreover, when a child is being sent to an Approved School it is wiser not to send it home while waiting (one does not use a school where another course is possible) and with the present shortage of Approved Schools its stay in the Remand Home may run to many months. Harm may be done during this time, which the Approved School can hardly hope to remedy.

Can you do anything if the question is raised in Parliament to ensure that the demand for an enquiry shall receive Labour support?

Yours sincerely,
[Signed] Margery Fry
Margery Fry

Rt. Hon. F. Pethick Lawrence, M.P.,
House of Commons,

c.c. to Peaslake, Nr. Guildford.

Carbon copy of a letter from F. W. Pethick-Lawrence to Margery Fry

Asks for her help in securing a position for Yella Hertzka as the head of a training colony to equip German refugees for agricultural work overseas.



10th. May. 1939.

Dear Miss Fry,

I am very sorry you are not able to be with us on June 6th, but of course I realize how extremely busy you are.

I feel I must apologise to you for what I am going to do. I want to appeal for your consideration on a very special case and if possible I want you to give your help, although I know that you are already overwhelmed with all kinds of problems.

Mrs. Yella Hertzka of Vienna (an agricultural expert) is a refugee in England. She has been a leading spirit in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom since 1918 and is a very gifted and effective person. Her main qualification is that of a creative garden and farm architect. She has been the head of a horticultural college in Vienna for twenty or thirty years, has travelled largely and understands soil and climate and how to bring virgin soil under cultivation, as well as how to arouse the enthusiasm of ignorant and hopeless people. In addition to this technical knowledge, she has a very brillliant† temperament and is a born leader.

All this information is leading up to this one point. Frau Hertzka is exactly the right person to put in charge of a German Refugee Training Colony which is to equip men for pioneer agricultural work in distant lands, and it seems to those who know her a tragic waste of her of special qualifications not to use her in this capacity. I know that the chief farm colonies are run by the Friends Society and that is one reason why I am writing to you as a friend. I know that they are very short of money; I know that they are under a sort of obligation to employ British gardeners and so forth, but if you could meet Frau Hertzka, I think that you would recognise that she would be a unique asset to any farm training scheme. She does not want any more than just enough to live on; she is passionately content with the country and with the work on the land, but she does want freedom to organize so that she may carry out, so far as funds will allow, her creative ideas. It is very difficult for a refugee to insist with any emphasis upon her special qualifications. A person like Frau Hertzka must have an advocate, and this advocate must be a friend and a person of influence[;] that is why I venture to write to you about this matter because you are the only person I can think of who could get anything done.

Yours sincerely,


† Sic.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Durbins. - Has not sent [Bob's translation of Aristophanes's] "Lysistrata" yet as he wanted Goldie [Lowes Dickinson's] criticisms; Goldie came on Sunday and Fry will read it to Madame Donnay [sic: Vera Donnet] tomorrow. Will try two days in town. Has read Bob's "Lucretius [On Death]" 'with very great delight; would like to bring out a second book, called "Lucretius On Origins" or similar. They should 'stir up Desmond [MacCarthy] to the point of writing' and perhaps advertise 'in educational places - girls' colleges & such like'; Margery [his sister] tells him about 'yearning intellectual appetites among the lower middle classes of Birmingham' though he is unsure 'whether they'd rise to' Lucretius. Is much better for his 'long rest', though managed to 'paint a good lot'; expects to be in town a little now, if he keeps well, but will be back at Durbins after 23 Mar when Pamela returns, so Bob could come over again then.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Madeira Cottage, Lyme Regis. - Has had liver trouble: apologising for not writing sooner to thank Trevelyan for his letter and Moore's poem. Change of scene has not been as effective as he hoped so far and Helen has been rather silent, but he thinks the last few days have been better. Wishes for some sunlight. Thinks Bertie [Russell's] article in the "Independent Review" ["Free Man's Worship"] is very kind though cannot match his resignation: clings to 'a cowardly "hope"'. Margery hopes to put on a masque for the opening of the new Library at Somerville College: asks if Trevelyan could write something

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Madeira Cottage, Lyme Regis. - Still more or less an invalid and can write while Helen is taking walks with Margery and the nurse. Helen is certainly in a better and more stable condition. The masque [for the opening of the new library at Somerville College, see 4/55] would be put on in June so he supposes Trevelyan will not be able to manage it, but it would be a pity. They want a mythological subject, the Triumph of Athene over Aphrodite and Juno, and Margery could send details. Asks where the Trevelyans are planning to go abroad. Stresses that he does like Bertie's article [Russell's "Free Man's Worship"].

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