English prison reformer, social reformer and, as a Quaker, a Christian philanthropist. She has sometimes been referred to as the "angel of prisons".
Elizabeth (Betsy) Gurney was born in Gurney Court, off Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk, England to the Quaker family of the Gurneys. Her father, John Gurney (1749–1809), was a partner in Gurney's bank. Her mother, Catherine, was a part of the Barclay family, who were among the founders of Barclays Bank. Her mother died when Elizabeth was only twelve years old. As one of the oldest girls in the family, Elizabeth was partly responsible for the care and training of the younger children, including her brother Joseph John Gurney, a philanthropist. One of her sisters was Louisa Gurney Hoare (1784–1836), a writer on education.
Elizabeth Fry died from a stroke in Ramsgate, England, on 12 October 1845. Her remains were buried in the Friends' burial ground at Barking.
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