Blue Plaque in Montpelier Crescent

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A blue plaque has been fixed to 24 Montpelier Crescent (now the Seven Dials Medical Centre) to commemorate Elizabeth Robins and her close friend Octavia Wilberforce. The American born Robins had met the young Wilberforce (great-grand-daughter of anti-slavery campaigner William) in 1909 when, after a successful acting career on both sides of the Atlantic, she settled in Henfield. She supported the latter’s aim of becoming one of the second generation of female doctors and together they funded women’s health services locally including the New Sussex Hospital in Windlesham Road (now the residential development “Temple Heights”). Robins spent much of the 1930s based at Wilberforce’s surgery in Montpelier Crescent rather than in Henfield where her country house had been converted to a women’s shelter and convalescent home. She spent the war years reluctantly in the United States, returning however, to spend her final years with Wilberforce in Brighton. Guided tours giving more information about these and other pioneering women who lived in the city are being led by Louise Peskett this summer. Contact

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