A Touching Memorial to an Egyptology Great

As part of my visit to Bristol last week, I took the opportunity of paying my respects to the resting place of Amelia Ann Blanford Edwards (7 June 1831 - 15 April 1892), founder of the Egypt Exploration Fund (now the Egypt Exploration Society) and the Edwards Chair in Egyptian Archaeology at University College London.  

Edwards - a successful novelist, journalist and traveller - was introduced to Egypt in the winter of 1873 when she undertook a holiday there.  She was so taken with the country, its history and its antiquities, that when she returned she wrote what has now become a seminal publication - A Thousand Miles Up The Nile.  Her concern regarding the destruction and mutilation of some of the monuments and antiquities she encountered there led her to co-found the Fund in 1882 with Reginald Stuart Poole of the British Museum.  Its aims were to encourage the exploration, surveying and excavating of ancient sites in Egypt and the Sudan and to disseminate the findings through regular publication. It also strived to help with the preservation of Egypt's history and material culture. In the last two decades of her life, Edwards tirelessly campaigned, cajoled sponsors and lectured on behalf of the Fund. 

She died on 15 April 1892 at Weston-Super-Mare after catching influenza. Edwards' grave can be found in the beautiful and peaceful graveyard of St Mary's Church in Henbury, Bristol, not far from what was once her home at Westbury-on-Trym.  The plot is marked with a stone obelisk under which a large ankh rests.




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