Born in Islington in 1874, Lilian began her working life as a school teacher, where she specialised in working with delinquent and problem children. This experience led to her being appointed principal of the London County Council's Women's Institutional correctional facility in 1913. She stayed here for two years, before resigning to help the war effort, where she oversaw 30,000 female munitions workers as lady superintendent of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.
During this period, and after her mother’ death in 1914, Lilian moved in with her partner Florence Francis, who she had met while working as a Sunday school teacher. The two lived together for 40 years until Lilian’s death in 1955.
Following WWI, in 1923 Lilian was made governor of a young offender's correctional facility, the Borstal Institution for Girls, where she made reforms to education and rehabilitation during her 12 years there. It was in 1935 that Lilian became the first female assistant prison commissioner, where she spent the rest of her life working to reform women’s prisons throughout England, Wales and Scotland. Her incredible work gained her a damehood in 1944 for her “services in connection with the welfare of women and girls”.
To learn more about LGBT+ history month, please visit https://lgbtplushistorymonth.co.uk/