Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameJosephine Elizabeth GREY , 7333
FatherVery Rev George BUTLER , 7331 (1774-1853)
MotherSarah Maria GRAY , 8044
ChildrenArthur Stanley , 9534 (1854-1923)
 Charles Augustine Vaughan , 9540 (1857-1929)
 George Grey , 9541 (1852-1935)
 Evangeline Grey , 9542 (1859-1864)
Notes for Josephine Elizabeth GREY
Josephine Elizabeth Butler (13 April 1828 – 30 December 1906) was a Victorian era British feminist who was especially concerned with the welfare of prostitutes. She led the long campaign for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts both in Britain and internationally from 1869 to 1886.

Family life

Josephine Elizabeth Grey was born at Milfield House, Milfield, Northumberland[1][2][3] and was the seventh child of John Grey (1785–1868, b. Milfield, Northumberland) and Hannah Eliza Annett (b. 1792, Alnwick, d. 15 May 1860). The couple married in 1815.[4] John Grey, son of George Grey (d. 1793) and Mary Burn, was an internationally respected agricultural expert, and the cousin of the reformist British Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey and a slavery abolitionist himself. He played a significant role in Catholic emancipation, and also worked for the Reform Act 1832. In 1833 he was appointed manager of the Dilston Estate (Greenwich Hospital), near Corbridge, Northumberland, and the family moved there. He lost most of his savings in the fall of 1857, with the failure of the New Castle Bank.

Josephine married George Butler (1819-1890 b. Harrow, Middlesex), a scholar and cleric, in 1852, they both shared a broad Christianity, a cultural attachment to Italy, as well as a strong commitment to liberal reforms. George Butler encouraged his wife in her public work, and he would suffer set-backs in his own career on account of his wife's notoriety. She gave birth to four children: George G. (b. 1853, Oxford); Arthur Charles (b. 1855, Oxford); Charles Augustin Vaughan (1857, Clifton, Gloucestershire); Evangeline Mary. (1859–1864), Cheltenham].[6] The Butlers had strong radical sympathies, including support for the Union in the American Civil War.

Their only daughter, Evangeline died in 1863.[7] This led Josephine to seek solace by ministering to people with greater pain than her own. Against her friends' and family's advice, she began visiting Liverpool's Brownlow Hill workhouse which led to her first involvement with prostitutes.


Josephine Butler
From her twenties on, Josephine was very active in feminist movements. This was particularly spurred by the accidental death of her six-year-old daughter Eva in 1863 when the Butlers were living in Cheltenham, where George served as vice principal at Cheltenham College. In 1866 George Butler was appointed headmaster of Liverpool College, and the family moved to Liverpool. Josephine now became involved in the campaign for higher education for women, and in 1867 together with Anne Jemima Clough, later principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, she was instrumental in establishing the North of England Council for Promoting the Higher Education of Women. However, she had also been very closely involved with the welfare of prostitutes; as a passionate Christian, she abhorred the sin, but she also regarded the women as being exploited victims of male oppression, and she attacked the double standard of sexual morality. So when a national campaign was begun in 1869 to repeal the Contagious Diseases Acts, she was an obvious woman to lead it.

[edit]Contagious Diseases Act

The Contagious Diseases Acts had been introduced during the 1860s (1864, 1866, 1869) as a form of state regulation of prostitution, in order to control the spread of venereal diseases, especially in the British Army and Royal Navy. This gave magistrates the power to order a genital examination of prostitutes for symptoms of VD, and detain infected women in a lock hospital for three months to be cured. Refusal to consent to the examination led to imprisonment. An accusation of prostitution by a police officer was sufficient to order an examination; women so accused often lost their livelihoods, and notoriously, one woman committed suicide.

Butler's description of this at a public meeting - she had been known to refer to the procedure as "surgical rape" - caused Hugh Price Hughes, Superintendent of the West London Mission, who was thanking her formally on the platform, to leave the stage in tears — something most unusual in those days and commented upon widely at the time.

The various Acts only applied to certain specified areas such as ports and garrison towns — but in 1869 the "Association for the Extension of the Contagious Diseases Acts" was formed to campaign to extend their operation over the whole of the United Kingdom.[9] This led to vehement opposition from Christians, feminists and supporters of civil liberty and to the setting up of the Ladies National Association for the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts; soon afterwards the scope of the campaign was broadened to include male supporters. Josephine threw all her energies into the campaign despite vilification and occasional physical assault, and the Acts were finally repealed in 1886.

In 1885 she was drawn into another related campaign led by the campaigning editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, William Thomas Stead. He had published a series of articles entitled The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon exposing the extent of child prostitution in London. As a result of this campaign, the age of consent in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was raised from 13 to 16 that same year.

Josephine was also very active in spreading the campaign internationally, and travelled to the French Third Republic and Switzerland where she met with hostility from the authorities, and strong support from feminist groups. As a result of her efforts, international organisations including the International Abolitionist Federation that she was a founder of, were set up to campaign against state regulation of prostitution and the traffic in women and children. Also, in 1897 in British Raj India, new Contagious Diseases Acts were imposed by the British government, and she led a new campaign against this.

Meanwhile George had retired from Liverpool College and been made a Canon of Winchester Cathedral, and he died 14 March 1890. Josephine continued campaigning until the early 1900s, and died in 1906.


Josephine Butler was not only a vehement feminist but a passionate Christian; she once said "God and one woman make a majority". In the Church of England she is celebrated with a Lesser Festival on 30 May and 30 December. She is also represented in windows in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, and St Olave's Church in the City of London.

The Women's Library at London Metropolitan University, holds a number of collections related to Josephine Butler. These include the Records of the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene (3AMS)renamed the Josephine Butler Society in honour of its founder; Over 2,500 letters in the Josephine Butler Letter Collection (3JBL); and the Josephine Butler Society Library consisting of books and pamphlets collected by the Society.

In 2005, the University of Durham honoured her by naming Josephine Butler College for her. This reflects the fact that she was married to a Durham University lecturer, and was a local of the North-East[11].

Josephine Butler House after Maghull Group removed the cladding.

Her connections to the UK city of Liverpool were also once memorialised. One of the "Faculty of Business and Law" buildings of Liverpool John Moores University was named "Josephine Butler House". The building, at the centre of the Cultural Quarter, Hope Street, Liverpool, and which dated back to 1867, was controversially due to be demolished (as at early 2009) and replaced with a six-storey block of flats [12]. That plan was then changed and the City of Liverpool has (April 2009) given developers permission to raze Josephine Butler House (previously the first Radium Institute in the UK) for the site to become a car park

Josephine Butler's house in Cheltenham, The Priory in London Road, was demolished in the 1970s. However, there remains a blue plaque on the apartment building which now occupies the site.

The Josephine Butler Museum, located on the Royal Artillery Way in Southend-On-Sea, is home to her many writings. In 1987, these were stolen from the museum, but were retrieved in a police raid 4 years later.
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