Cons, Emma (1838–1912)

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Cons, Emma (1838–1912)

British housing reformer and founder. Born 1838 in London, England; died 1912 in England; sister of Liebe Cons (contralto); aunt of Lilian Baylis (1874–1937); studied at Art School in Gower Street and Mrs. Hill's school.

Original founder of the Old Vic, who was the 1st to bring Shakespeare and opera to the working classes, joined Ladies Art Guild and taught toy-making at Ragged Schools; restored illuminated manuscripts for John Ruskin and opened watchengraving shop with other women; restored glass work at Powell's factory and Merton College, Oxford; with Ruskin and Octavia Hill, began restoring slum property in central London; established men's teetotal club, hostel for girls, coffee taverns, and ran creches and clinics for tenants; bought the Royal Victorian Hall near Waterloo Station (1879), reopened it as the Royal Victorian Hall and Coffee Tavern with variety bills and ballad concerts, and eventually turned it into a prestigious theater (Old Vic); lectures at Old Vic led to establishment of Morley College for working people; served as full-time manager of the Old Vic (1894–1912). Worked for women's suffrage, was executive member of Women's Liberal Foundation, founder of Women's Horticultural College, Swanley, and 1 of 3 women on 1st London County Council; traveled to Armenia to report on war atrocities, established silk factory for Armenian refugees in Crete, and visited émigré tenants in Canada.

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Cons, Emma (1838–1912)

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