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Barnett, Henrietta Octavia

Henrietta Octavia Barnett née Rowland (1851- 1936) social reformer. Her career began as one of the voluntary workers for housing pioneer Octavia Hill in Marylebone.  She married Samuel Barnett and they jointly founded the University Settlement, Toynbee Hall in Whitechapel, London. She extended this system of social work to America and was its President. The Barnetts also demolished slum dwellings in Whitechapel and built model dwellings on Octavia Hill's principles. Henrietta Barnett was involved in supporting working women through women's trade unions such as the Women's Protective and Provident League and the National Union of Women Workers as well as being a suffrage supporter. Barnett also worked with Angela Burdett-Coutts on assisting poor children. Believing that working people should have access to art, she founded the Whitechapel Art Gallery. (Seth Koven, 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography', 2004)

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