By Tijen Zahide Horoz
Henrietta was born into a wealthy West London family. But she developed an early interest in social work and philanthropy. When the Barnetts married and moved to Whitechapel in 1873 Henrietta was shocked by the squalid living conditions and horrendous poverty she saw around her. She threw herself into working with the vulnerable women and children of the East End.
She founded a long-running scheme to help vulnerable young women in Whitechapel escape the lure of prostitution and find respectable work in service. She also helped to establish the Children’s Country Holiday fund which operated from Toynbee Hall for over 100 years. Henrietta was also at the heart of artistic and cultural life at Toynbee Hall. She organised classical concerts and selected pictures for the annual Whitechapel Art Exhibitions, which led to the foundation of the Whitechapel Gallery. She later went on to found Hampstead Garden Suburb and the Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead, which is still running today.
To find out more about Henrietta’s life and work read the full booklet here.