• Adrian Thomas
  • Francis Duck
Part of the Springer Biographies book series (SPRINGERBIOGS)


Edith and Florence Stoney were born in Dublin, Edith in January 1869 and her sister Florence 13 months later. They had two older brothers, Gerald and Robert, and a younger sister Gertrude. Their father, G Johnstone Stoney FRS, was an eminent physicist who was secretary to Queen’s University of Ireland until its closure in 1882. Their mother Sophia died in childbirth in 1871. All five children were tutored at home. Edith and Florence’s upbringing was influenced by their father’s liberal educational ideas. Edith and Gertrude attended the Metropolitan College of Art. They accompanied their father to events at the Royal Dublin Society where he was a vice president. Edith, Florence and Gerald all attended science classes at the Royal College of Science for Ireland. At home they were influenced by Gerald’s engineering interest in cycling, their father’s knowledge of astronomy and Robert’s medical studies. They learned about photography. University opportunities for women were opening but still limited. Edith and Florence both gained firsts in the natural sciences group of subjects in the Cambridge Local Higher Examinations in 1889, two of only six women to achieve that standard.


Royal College of Science Queen’s University Liberal education Dundrum Cycling Microscopy Photography Women’s education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian Thomas
    • 1
  • Francis Duck
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, School of Allied and Public Health ProfessionsCanterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK
  2. 2.Formerly University of BathBathUK

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