Anna Maria FOX

1816—1897

The Cornwall Polytechnic Society was founded as early as 1833 in Falmouth, the first polytechnic in the country and the brainchild of seventeen-year old Anna Maria Fox of Penjerrick.

Her family, Quaker industrialists and exemplary employers, were part-owners of the Perran Foundry near Falmouth. She knew that there were many intelligent men among her father’s workforce because she saw the numerous inventions and models that they brought to him, and realized “what an advantage it would be to those men if there could be some fitting arena provided for all this inventive talent…”

She was eagerly supported by her own family and by leading figures among the local gentry, including Lord de Dunstanville, the Society’s first patron, and Sir Charles Lemon, MP, its first president.

On Lord de Dunstanville’s death, the society invited William IV to become its patron, to which he willingly assented.' [Abstract from Ann Round, 'The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society (Falmouth)' in Hardie 2009.]

Her own exhibitions and contributions to the RCPS activities throughout her long life are recorded in the Annual Reports of Proceedings of the RCPS 1833ff, as she remained an active member until her death. She was a painter and craftswoman, and the organiser of the Arts sections of the Annual exhibitions.