Appeal launched to ensure Birmingham doesn’t forget “important and unusual” poet Constance Naden

Descendants of poet Constance Naden have launched a campaign to restore her grave in Birmingham after it was left in fragments.

Constance Naden

Constance Naden

Born in 1858, Constance was a student of science who wrote poetry and published freethinking philosophy.

Julian Rees, Dr Clare Stainthorp and Margaret Hall

Julian Rees, Dr Clare Stainthorp and Margaret Hall

Her memory and her work live on in the University of Birmingham where the Constance Naden Medal is awarded.

Following her death in 1889, a gravestone and memorial were erected in the Jewellery Quarter’s Key Hill Cemetery, but it has now become damaged. So her great-niece and nephew, Margaret Hall and Julian Rees, have set up the campaign with Dr Clare Stainthorp to try and keep the poet’s legacy alive.

Dr Stainthorp said: “Constance Naden is an important and unusual figure in Birmingham history.

Constance Naden's grave

Constance Naden’s grave

“She overturns our assumptions about women’s place in Victorian society, and so it’s important to restore her grave and re-establish her legacy.

“I have spent the last few years researching Naden’s life and works and I remain fascinated, and inspired, by her independence of thought and action.

“Women’s history is too often erased from public view. Restoring Naden’s damaged grave will enable others to learn more about the many and varied achievements of this 19th Century notable.”

They now hope to create a replacement memorial with an inscription that contains all of the original text from the damaged grave and provides some additional information about her life along with a line from her poem The Pantheist’s Song of Immortality.

They need to raise £4,000 and are asking people to support them via an online fundraising page.

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