Frances Jane Pringle was born in Cape Town South Africa in 1875 but grew up with her brother, mother and father in Hampshire. Frances first met Albert Mansbridge while the two of them were working as Sunday school teachers, sharing their ambition to do good and help educate others. 

The next few years were a busy time for the couple and saw them marry in Wandsworth in 1900, move to Battersea and welcome their son into the world in 1901. It was in 1903 that Frances and Albert set up the Higher Education of Working Man, which would later become the Workers' Education Association, using two shillings and sixpence from the housekeeping money. That today would be approximately £10. 

In 1907, Frances and a number of other members convened a WEA women's group that developed into the Women's Advisory Committee, a big step forward in terms of female equality at the time. What's more, during their years spent spreading the WEA word, Frances and Albert went across the country to set up various branches, as well taking things international. Their travels took them to a number of countries, including  Australia. It was here that they spent 17 weeks with the aim of forming branches, as well as in New Zealand, America and Canada, where Frances lectured to women's groups and delivered speeches. 

After years of dedication and servitude to the cause of making education accessible to all, the couple semi-retired to Devon in 1945. A great-niece recognised that 'Frances must have been as dynamic as he' while Albert noted that without 'Tot', his pet name for Frances, he would never have achieved his success. 

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Kay Field

Digital Marketing Officer

Kay is the Digital Marketing Officer at the WEA.