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Frances Balfour

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Frances Balfour
Frances Balfour.jpg
BornFrances Cambell
22 February 1858
Died25 February 1931(1931-02-25) (aged 73)
Cause of deathBronchial pneumonia
Known forSuffagist
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Eustace Balfour
Children5, including Francis Balfour
Parent(s)George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll
Lady Elizabeth Sutherland-Leveson-Gower

Lady Frances Balfour (née Campbell; 22 February 1858 – 25 February 1931)[1] was one of the highest-ranking members of the British aristocracy to assume a leadership role in the women's suffrage movement. Balfour was president of the National Society for Women's Suffrage from 1896 to 1914. As a non-violent suffragist, she was opposed to the militant actions of the Women's Social and Political Union, the suffragettes.


The tenth child of British Liberal politician and Scottish peer George Douglas Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (eldest daughter of the 2nd Duke of Sutherland), she was born at Argyll Lodge in Kensington, London.[2] Lady Frances Campbell was handicapped by a hip joint disease and from early childhood was in constant pain and walked with a limp. Her parents were deeply religious and involved in several different campaigns for social reform. She reportedly helped with these campaigns as a child, for example by knitting garments to be sent to the children of former slaves after slavery was formally banned by the government within the British territories in 1833.

In 1879 she married Eustace Balfour, a London-based Scottish architect. Eustace's uncle, Lord Salisbury, had three terms as Britain's prime minister. Eustace's elder brother, Arthur Balfour, was also a Conservative British prime minister from 1902 to 1905. However, in opposition to the Conservative politics of her in-laws, Frances, along with both her parents, supported Liberal statesman William Gladstone and his government. Lady Frances Balfour and her husband never overcame these political differences and spent less and less time together.

She died in London on 25 February 1931 from bronchial pneumonia[2] and heart failure, and was buried at Whittingehame, the Balfour family home in East Lothian, Scotland.

Lyceum Club

The writer Constance Smedley had decided to start a new type of club for women. Another proposed founder, Jessie Trimble, proposed that the new club be called the Lyceum Club, and the new committee arranged for Smedley to meet Lady Balfour. The committee had decided to extend their net for new members from writers, to professional women and even the daughters or wives of prominent men. Balfour agreed to lead the new club and served as their chair for 15 years.[3]


  • Dr Elsie Inglis (1920)
  • The Life of George, Fourth Earl of Aberdeen (1923)
  • Lady Victoria Campbell: a memoir (1911)
  • A Memoir of Lord Balfour of Burleigh, KT. (1924)
  • The Very Rev. Principal Story, D.D. (1909)
  • Life and Letters if the Reverend James MacGregor (1912)
  • In Memoriam the Lady Frances Balfour, 1881-1931 (Newspaper cuttings compiled by the Committee of the Travellers' Aid Society (1931)

Posthumous recognition

Her name and picture (and those of 58 other women's suffrage supporters) are on the plinth of the statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, London, unveiled in 2018.[4][5][6]


  1. ^ B., HUFFMAN, JOAN (2017). LADY FRANCES. TROUBADOR PUBLISHING. ISBN 1788035054. OCLC 971535238.
  2. ^ a b William Knox (6 March 2006). The Lives of Scottish Women: Women and Scottish Society 1800-1980. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 98–114. ISBN 978-0-7486-2655-7.
  3. ^ History, Lyceum Club, Retrieved 21 June 2016
  4. ^ "Historic statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett unveiled in Parliament Square". 24 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  5. ^ Topping, Alexandra (24 April 2018). "First statue of a woman in Parliament Square unveiled". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Millicent Fawcett statue unveiling: the women and men whose names will be on the plinth". iNews. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Maud Palmer, Countess of Selborne
President of the National Council of Women of Great Britain & Ireland
Succeeded by
Mrs George Morgan
This page was last edited on 27 November 2018, at 03:32
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