In reading about the life and career of Justin Blanco White last night, just posted on the DNB as one of a group of female architects, a pioneer member of the architectural profession who studied at the Architectural Association from 1929 to 1934, where, in her first year, she did a rendering of the classical orders and in her third year designed a sports hall, I was interested to discover that not just her mother, Amber Blanco White, but her grandmother, Magdalen Stuart Reeves, have entries in the DNB for their involvement in the suffrage movement and fight for women’s rights.
Magdalen Stuart Reeves had been brought up in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she was a pupil of Christchurch School for Girls and edited the Canterbury Times. When her husband was posted to London as agent-general, they became involved with the Fabians and she co-founded the Fabian Women’s Group. In the war, she was director of women’s services in the Ministry of Food.
Meanwhile, her daughter, Amber, also born in Christchurch, had discovered the work of Kant in a bookshop in the Charing Cross Road and got a double first in moral sciences at Newnham. Befriended by H.G. Wells, she had a child by him and two by her husband, Rivers Blanco White, including Justin, who was born in 1911 in their house in Downshire Hill. During Justin’s childhood, her mother worked as a civil servant at the Admiralty and then at the Ministry of Munitions, walking to Whitehall from Hampstead and breakfasting on the way with cabbies.
Quite a family.