Wollstonecraft Street, N1C

Place name

Mary Wollstonecraft (April 27, 1759 – September 10, 1797) ran a girls’ school at Newington Green with her sister Eliza between 1784 and 1786. She was no stranger to the area staying in Upper Street, with her friend, Fanny Blood. Wollstonecraft was probably best known for her book A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, championing women’s rights. Her daughter was Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the second wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley the poet, she wrote Frankenstein, published in 1818. Mary Wollstonecraft is buried in the graveyard of St Pancras Old Church. This road was laid out on a former site of St Pancras Goods, Cattle and Coal Depot. Built sometime after 1916, the name was chosen in 2015 following a competition to find new street names for the area which was being redeveloped. There were more than 10,000 suggestions and this was the first name picked. According to the press release which was published at the time: “Wollstonecraft Street, the first street to be named as part of the competition, runs next to the Plimsoll Building, and will be the street address for the new Academy and Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children. The street is named after Mary Wollstonecraft, the eighteenth-century English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights, who lived in King’s Cross before her death, in 1797, shortly after giving birth to her daughter Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.” The selection process took over two years, run in close partnership with Camden Council, and working in consultation with the Royal Mail and the emergency services. Commenting on the competition and the first street name to be used, Robert Evans of KCCLP and Chair of Governors at the King’s Cross Academy, said: “We were thrilled and overwhelmed by the sheer number of entries submitted; it is heartening to know how much people all over the world care about King’s Cross, and want to have a stake in its future. We have gone through a robust and in-depth process to consider and assess every entry. Wollstonecraft Street will be home to the new Academy opening this September and Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children, and we will announce other names as we finalise plans for the remaining new parts of King’s Cross.” Leader of Camden Council, Councillor Sarah Hayward, said: “The announcement of naming a street after Mary Wollstonecraft is timely, coming around the time we mark International Women’s Day and reflect on the work she did in campaigning for equal rights for women nearly a hundred years ago. She paved the way for me to be Leader of Camden Council, and for all our political parties in Camden to be led by women. It’s a wonderful decision and I celebrate it.”

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