John Fraser (1820 - 1909)

The Herbarium
The University of Hull
Cottingham Road
United Kingdom

by Richard Middleton, 2009

John Fraser's Wolverhampton House John Fraser's Plaque

John Fraser's residence, 5 Tettenhall Road, Wolverhampton.
Images © Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society

Glasgow origins

'Johannes Fraser filius natu maximus Jacobi Davidis aedificatoris Glasguensis'

The earliest record's of John Fraser's life seen so far are among the archives of Glasgow University where he first enrolled as an undergraduate student in 1838. I have freely translated this as 'John Fraser eldest son of James David, builder of Glasgow'

Although Fraser (or Frazer as he was occasionally called) was a common name in Glasgow at the time, it is enough to identify his family in the parish records, census returns and newspaper announcements of the time. The fact that he was able to benefit from a University education shows that his family were at least reasonably affluent and the term builder implies a little more than a humble brick-layer.

John's father seems to have used his middle name and is generally known as David rather than James. He was born around, or a little before, 1780 and on 18th October 1815 had married Helen Tennent of Ayr in Maybole. Helen was younger than David, having been born in 1796. Over the next twenty years the couple raised a family of eight children with John, as stated in the University records, the eldest son. Although early University records refer to John C Fraser there seems to be no other reference to the significance of this extra initial.

Helen (1816 - 1888) born Ayr, married John Lyle (1818 - 1888), carpet manufacturer
John born in Glasgow on 22nd March 1820
David (1823 - 187?) born Kelso
Jane (1824 -) born Ayr, married William Stobo (c1808 - 188? ), ironmonger
Catherine (1828 - ) born Glasgow
Marion (1831 - 1855) born Glasgow
Agnes (1836 - 19??) born Glasgow, married Peter McKean (c1830 - )
Mary (1842 - ) born Glasgow, married George Russell

John's father was one of the famous Fraser "hewers" described in his autobiography by the celebrated Scotish geologist Hugh Miller (1859). David is mentioned as the one of the the three brothers (which incidentally included a John) who moved down from the Inverness area to set up a business in Glasgow. This connection could explain John's life-long interest in geology.

John Fraser started his University career in 1838 attending classes in Greek, in which he was awarded a prize 'For General Eminence throughout the Session'. The following year John again won prizes for 'the best exercise in Homeric and Attic Greek' and for 'excelling in a voluntary examination on subjects prepared during the Summer'. During the 1841-42 session he again achieved honours, this time in his Ethics studies, for 'general eminance in the business of the class, throughout the session' and 'the Lord Rector's Prize of Five Sovereigns to the most distinguished Student of the Senior Division'. He was obviously a model student and was awarded his MA degree in 1843.

The census records show that in 1841 John was living at home with his parents and six siblings, his youngest sister would be born the following year. The family home was at 1 Rutherford Lane, Glasgow.

The earliest specimens in the herbarium which were undoubtedly collected by Fraser are the 68 plants taken between May and July 1849, principally from the Glasgow area. They seem to have been collected, at least in part,during his formal university studies, doctors at that time being expected to have a knowledge of botany. The labels of two of these specimens record that he was accompanied by Dr Walker Arnott, the professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow.

Glasgow University records show that he attended Latin classes in 1850 and Logic in 1852. Additionally he won the following prizes in the 1851-52 session - Practice of Physic Class 'For Superiority in Written Exercises in Answer to Questions relating to the lectures', Midwifery Class, 'Obtained by Written Competition' and in the Surgery Class, Senior Division, he was second equal. He was awarded his MD in 1852

According to Joseph Hough (1910) he was a house surgeon at Glasgow Infirmary, presumably while pusuing his medical studies, and from 1852 - 1854 was a general practitioner at both Byers Green and Gainford, co. Durham before moving to Wolverhampton in 1854.

The move to Wolverhampton

Desmond's entry for John Fraser in the Dictionary of British & Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists notes - "To Wolverhampton, 1854". This seems to correspond to a waning in his botanical interests and there are very few specimens preserved from the 1850s. Among the eleven known plants from this period are his first collectings from Wales.

His first dwelling in Wolverhampton seems to have been 30, Darlington Street where he is recorded as living with his sister Katherine Frazer (sic) in the census of 1861. Very shortly afterwards, on 25 July 1861 John Fraser and Sarah Wilkes were married by Rev Edward Pizey at St John's church, Wolverhampton. Sarah was the daughter of Paul and Jane Wilkes. The parish records note that neither had married before and that John's father David was a builder - confirming his Glasgow University record. Sarah's father Paul was already deceased and is described as a "Gentleman". The witneses were Sarah's brother Paul and her sister-in-law Ellen Maria Wilkes, her brother Martin's wife. Other witneses were Caroline Eyre and Mary Mander. Paul senior had been a master confectioner of Wolverhampton as was his son Paul (1830). Sarah's other known brother, Martin (1833), was to become a master ironfounder employing many in Sedgley.

John and Sarah were to have six children over the next few years -

  • Helen Jane Fraser 1862 - 1892
  • Paul Wilkes Fraser 1863
  • Kate Fraser 1865
  • Sarah Wilkes Fraser 1866
  • Mary Martin Fraser 1868
  • Agnes Marion Fraser 1869 - 1876

The choice of names seems to have been strongly influenced by those of his own siblings. It is interesting to note that his daughter Kate was baptised by his good friend and fellow botanist/geologist, Rev Joseph Hesselgrave Thompson.

Around 1866 the Fraser family moved to 5 Tettenhall Road, Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton. This was to remain John's residence for more than 40 years. This house seems to have been large enough for John's new family and servants to help run it. Clearly things were going well for John.

Despite his rapidly expanding family responsibilities he still seems to have had enough time and energy to devote to his hobbies. In the early part of this decade he became closely involved with the The Dudley and Midland Geological and Scientific Society (see later) and it is tempting to suggest that it is here that he met Rev J H Thompson who revived Fraser's interest in botany. During this period he also joined various other local natural history societies.

John Fraser and Natural History Societies

John Fraser was a member of several geological and natural history societies. In some, such as the Birmingham Natural History Society, he was a communicating member but in others he was very active and served as an officer.

Worcestershire Naturalists' Club

The first mention of John Fraser in association with the Worcestershire Naturalists' Club is his election as a member on 15th May 1863. It seems likely that he was introduced to this group by his good friend Rev. Joseph Hesselgrave Thompson, vicar of Cradley. His association with the Worcestershire Naturalists was long and he was elected as their president on 12th May 1881. Among the leading lights of this club were Edwin Lees, William Mathews and Thomas Baxter, all of whom have plants in HLU. The Worcestershire Naturalists' was very much a field-based organisation which, during this period, organised three to five field meetings a year, each followed by dinner and reports. Fraser is listed as a member of the club as late as 1896 but by 1906 his name ceased to appear, possibly an indication of his failing health and vigour.

The Dudley and Midland Geological and Scientific Society and Field Club

The Dudley and Midland Geological and Scientific Society (DMGSS) was established in 1862, a revival of the defunct Dudley Geological Society which had been founded 20 years earlier. An open meeting was organized where proposals were made to reform and broaden the remit of the society and the Birmingham Evening Post (25.7.1862) reported "It was proposed to include along the pursuits of the society botany and archaeology, by which they hoped to gain the assistance of the ladies and the clergy". The meeting seems to have been a lively occasion and the name of the society caused great debate - the name Dudley rather than Wolverhampton being chosen because of the progress being made with a building which could house the Society's museum. The relationship with the mechanics Institute, who were to share this building, were later to cause some friction. In a report detailing the dispute published in the Society's journal for 1865 (v5 no II), it transpired that Dr Fraser had contributed one guinea towards the building fund in 1862 with the aim of securing a geological museum.

The inaugural meeting of the DMGSS was held on 15th August 1862. Although Fraser is not reported as attending this meeting, he seems to be among these founding members as he is listed as attending a Committee meeting of the Society on 30th October 1862. Dr Fraser was a regular attendee of the society's committee and general meetings throughout 1863 (although he is frequently referred to as Dr Frazer). At the 1863 AGM the success of the new society was noted along with the fact that it had 350 members registered, almost twice the number anticipated, and that the list of honorary members included such worthies as Sir Roderick Murchison, Director of the geological Survey. Both John Fraser and Joseph Thompson were elected to the Committee.

The first edition of the new society's journal gives a report of a field trip to Cannock Chase made on 21st June 1864. This report shows that John Fraser was taking an active part in the groups activities - "Here the botanists, under the leadership of Dr Fraser, made a long halt and secured no small number of characteristic plants." The herbarium still has specimens of six plants collected on this expedition - Juncus squarrosus [HLU12234], Carex binervis [HLU13554], Raphanus raphanistrum [HLU1097], Deschampsia flexuosa [HLU15029], Eleogiton fluitans [HLU13375] and Ranunculus hederaceus [HLU594]. The same issue of the Journal lists John Fraser, along with his friend Rev. Thompson, as members of the "Field Club" rather than as "Ordinary Members". This "two-tier" system of membership had been introduced the previous year. In 1865 the Journal (6.ii) carries a paper by Fraser listing the plants he had found in Staffordshire during 1864. This provides a useful checklist for the sheets he submitted for the Horticultural Society's Botanical Competition of that year. By 1865 he, unlike Rev Thompson, does seem to have increased his subscription and become an "ordinary member" and vice-president of the society.

In 1873 Rev Joseph Thompson was elected as President of the Society and John Fraser was among the vice-presidents. On 22nd June 1875, at the DMGSS meeting in Shrewsbury, Dr Fraser proposed that the society should spend five guineas annually to provide prizes for the students passing the local examination in geology. In 1887 John Fraser chaired the AGM, where he was elected as Treasurer to the Society, a post which he still held in 1890.

North Staffordshire Field Club

This Club was founded in 1865 and its president for the first five years was James Bateman FRS (Wikipedia). It seems to have enjoyed good relations with the DMGSS, organising joint meetings (1866). In 1870 & 1872 John Fraser was a vice-president (although again he is referred to as Frazer in 1870). He was not mentioned as an officer in the 1892/3 Transactions of the Society.

The Edinburgh Botanical Society

Rather surprisingly John Fraser does not seem to have had any connection with this society until 1865 when he became a non resident fellow. He did, however, maintain his fellowship until his death and for many years was the local secretary for Wolverhampton.

The British Botanical Competition, 1864

In 1864 the Royal Horticultural Society organized a competition with prizes of one silver and two bronze medals for the best collections of plants made from each county of Great Britain during the year. The intention of this competition was the "encouragement of Scientific Botany among all classes" (WG 1864). This apparently innocuous idea proved somewhat controversial with objections ranging from the cost involved in making such a collection to the danger that it would pose to rare and threatened plants. Letters to the Committee of the Royal Horticultural expressing this latter concern were sent by Hooker et al. from Kew, and from Charles Babington, suggesting that, as a compromise, no collection should contain more than 300 specimens, the plants should be named by the candidate using standard texts and that the prize should be awarded on the basis of presentation and accuracy rather than number and rarity (Babington 1864). Babington's communication essentially acted as a cover letter for a petition from 127 botanists echoing this sentiment, headed, after Charles and Churchill Babington, by Charles Darwin himself. Many of the people signing this would be known personally to Fraser, including W A Leighton, W Mathews, A Bloxam and G Walker Arnott.

The representation to the Society seems to have had the desired effect and revised rules were introduced limiting entries to no more than 200 plants and noting that the inclusion of rare plants would not enhance the competitor's chance of winning a prize. Competitors were also encouraged to make suggestions for ways in which the Society could assist in the conservation of rare plants.

In his Flora of Staffordshire, Edees (1972) notes that

"In 1864 he [John Fraser] made a collection of 530 species of Staffordshire plants which was awarded the silver medal of the South Kensington Horticultural Society for the best county collection of the year. These plants with the rest of Fraser's extensive herbarium now belong to the University of Hull [HLU]."

BBC label

In actual fact the 530 relates to the number of Staffordshire plants that Fraser lists as having observed in his 1865 paper in the Transactions of the DMGSS. Of these only 317 taxa are preserved in the HLU collection, with 293 still carrying the official competition label. In view of the changes made to the rules, 200 or fewer or these must have been submitted for consideration by the prize committee. Since he was awarded the county prize, his collection must have conformed to the letter of the new rules but not perhaps the spirit! His entry also seems to confirm the fears expressed by H C Watson in a letter to the Journal of Botany (1864).

"… it is presumed that the prizes must be chiefly intended to stimulate young gardeners, and perhaps others of similar social position, to acquire some knowledge of technical botany. It is not likely that more advanced or professed botanists would care to receive such prizes ; and it may be added, without wishing to suggest offensive comparisons by the remark, that young botanists, in the social position of gentlemen, would be little likely to become competitors for them. If they should become so, however, with time and money at command, what would be the chances of successful competition on the part of employed gardeners and others able to spare little of either ?"

In all twenty six silver medals and eleven bronze medals were awarded for the county collections with three gold medals to Dr St Brody of Cheltenham, Mr Joshua Clarke of Saffron Walden and Miss Lydia E Becker of Accrington for the best overall submissions. Mr Clarke also received an extra gold medal for the discovery of Erucastrum inodorum (now E. gallicum), a first for the United Kingdom (Seeman 1865). Dr St Brody (1828 - 1901) was a Prussian born private tutor - like John Fraser not the social class originally targeted for improvement by the Horticultural Society! He was an active botanist noted for his startling views on plant conservation and " lived under the fond delusion that the power which causes a plant to occur in a given spot in the first place can be depended upon to preserve it in perpetuity." (Allen 1986). It is also tempting to surmise that another gold medal winner was none other than Joshua Clarke (c1807 - 1890), magistrate and ten times mayor of Saffron Walden, a mature maltster and enthusiastic experimental botanist (Gibson 1866). The third gold medalist was Lydia Ernestine Becker (1827 - 1891), daughter of Hannibal Becker, a manufacturing chemist. She was an experienced amateur botanist and published "Botany for Novices" in 1864. Shortly after this she took up the cause of women's rights and edited the "Women's Suffrage Journal" from 1870 to 1890 (Walker 2004). Plants in MANC.

A trip to Wales with Rev W A Leighton 1866

The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Zoology, Botany and Geology volume 109 for January 1869 carries an article by Rev W A Leighton entitled "The Lichens of Cader Idris", documenting a visit to the area made in 1866. In this article John Fraser receives specific mention.

"I was now joined by my friend Dr. John Fraser, of Wolverhampton ; and we essayed the ascent of Cader Idris by the lakes, purposing to examine carefully the northern escarpment. We had, however, scarcely surmounted the moraines before a beating hailstorm and pelting rain chilled, benumbed, and wetted us to the skin, compelling us to halt and seek shelter amid the boulders. But, no abatement in the storm occurring, we were obliged to descend and return home through the morass, which (and even the turnpike road itself) was swimming with water several inches deep. Our gatherings were necessarily trifling- Parmelia conspersa, Ach., with spermogonia, Lecanora cervina, Ach., var. rufovirescens, Tayl., and a few other species before enumerated. The evening was spent in a walk to the famous " Torrent Walk," which proved to my friend a very paradise of mosses, but afforded nothing of any interest in lichens.

Nothing daunted, we next day tried Cader Idris from the north-west, purposing to traverse the summit eastward to Dolgelley, but were again beaten back by dense mists and drenching rain, collecting nothing save Lecidea milliaria, Fr., f. sporis subsimplicibus, Lecidea flavovirescens, Mass., L. bacillifera, Nyl., f. muscorum, L. coarctata, Ach., f. elachista, Ach., Lecanora ventosa, Ach., thallo pallidiore, and Lecidea rivulosa, Ach.

A fine day now tempted me (in the absence of my friend, who went to Barmouth in search of mosses)…"

Selaginella selaginoides

A list of 51 mosses observed by Fraser in the Dolgelley area is appended to this article. Of the species on this list 9 seem to have been collected and are still present in Fraser's moss herbarium -

  • Racomitrium aciculare
  • Tetraplodon mnioides
  • Entosthodon attenuatus
  • Oedipodium griffithianum
  • Ditrichum heteromallum
  • Distichium capillaceum
  • Andreaea alpina
  • Andreaea rupestris
  • Andreaea rothii

There are no mosses from Fraser's visit to Barmouth in his herbarium but there are four vascular plant specimens - Radiola linoides, Oenanthe silaifolia, Juncus maritimus and Bolboschoenus maritimus. The herbarium also contains two other vascular plants collected on this expedition to Wales - Selaginella selaginoides (HLU.4) from Cader Idris and Carex punctata from Dolgelley (HLU.13524).

Family life - the 1870s & 1880s

The Medical Register shows that John became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, in 1871. John made trips to Europe in 1871 & 1872 (Switzerland) and 1875 (Norway), on the first of these July visits he was accompanied by Rev Joseph Thompson.

In February of 1876 tragedy struck the Fraser household with the death of both his youngest daughter Agnes and his wife Helen within a few days of one another. There is a memorial to them both in St Mark's Church, Chapel Ash and, although the cause of death is not known, it seems likely that some contagious disease was responsible.

A little over a year later John married Charlotte Ann Horton. Charlotte's family were well established in Cradley, Worcestershire and her father William Henry Horton (1803) was an agent at an Iron Works. Her mother was Charlotte Fieldhouse (IGI). Although this seems to be a rather hasty response, Charlotte would have been very well known to the Fraser family as she was already related to them by marriage - the late Sarah's brother, Martin, was married to Ellen Maria Horton, Charlotte's sister. In 1871 Charlotte had been living with Martin and Ellen in Sedgley. By this time Martin had become a master ironfounder employing 166 men and 8 boys and sees to have been rather affluent.

In 1881 the census returns show John and Charlotte living with John's five remaining children and two servants. His son Paul Wilkes Fraser, now aged 17, is described as a student of medicine and his younger sisters as scholars. Paul obviously persisted with his medical studies and in in 1886 was licenced by the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Paul led an eventful life (read more about him here) spending most of it abroad but retaining contact with his father.

For the period 1881 - 1883 John Fraser was the president of the Worcestershire Naturalists' Club, succeeding Rev. Joseph Thompson. In the late summer of 1888 John and Joseph spent a month together botanising in the Pyrenees. The two had been good friends for over 25 years and John would have felt a great loss when Joseph died in April of the following year. John Fraser was present at his friend's inquest and later his funeral in Cradley.

Family life - the 1890s & 1900s

The 1891 census shows that the family were still living together, with the exception of Paul who by now was married and living in Australia. In May of the following year John's eldest daughter, Helen Jane, died and her name was added to the memorial to her mother and sister Agnes on the wall of St Mark's church, Chapel Ash. It was around this time that John's first grandchild, Kate, was born to Paul and his wife Kathleen. While in Australia Paul's interests seem to have strayed from medicine to geology and the couple seem to have amassed a reasonable fortune from prospecting and mining company investments. John's second wife Charlotte Ann died in June 1896. The decade seemed to be ending on a better note when John's youngest surviving daughter, Mary, married Padey Pennington at St Clement Danes, The Strand, on 7th June 1899. Padey Pennington had been a sucessful professional entertainer, touring throughout the country with his show that included hypnotism, conjuring, mind-reading and possibly a little musical comedy. Padey had been born James Smith Paddey in Wolverhampton and may well have been a childhood friend of Paul Fraser - the two were very close in age.

Just over three months after the wedding, news reached England that Paul had been shot in the head by his wife Kathleen. Although still alive after the incident, he was so seriously injured that it was thought that there was no chance of his survival. Against the odds he did survive and was visited in St Kilda, Melbourne, by his brother-in-law in early 1900. Kathleen Fraser was subsequently prosecuted for attempted murder but was acquitted after a rather unusual trial in March 1900.

In the early part of the 20th century Mary and her husband were living in Twickenham and Padey seemed set on a legal career. Their first child, Martin Fraser Pennington, was born in 1901 - sister Kate was living-in with the couple just before the confinement. In 1902 Mary gave birth to John's third grandchild, Olive Noel Pennington.

Unsurprisingly, Paul and Kathleen's marriage did not survive and by 1903 Kathleen had moved to America, divorced Paul, sent young Katie to live with John in Wolverhampton, and married Theodore Mark Frederick Budden. A letter subsequently sent by Kathleen in Seattle to Katie in Wolverhamton, informed her that her new step-father had died in a railway accident, although this may not actually have been true...

John Fraser died on 13th April 1909

John Fraser - the man

Little evidence of John's character can be gleaned from the census returns, newspaper reports and specimen labels. The reports and proceedings of the Worcestershire Naturalists' Club as chronicled by Mary Jones (1980) do, however, reveal a couple of genuine insights.

On 5th November 1886 the Worcestershire Naturalists' visited Goodrich Castle where "The more athletic of the company climbed by a broken stairway to the summit of the keep, where Dr Fraser found the Hoary Cinquefoil [Potentilla argentea] in a crevice of the sandstone rock". The fact that he spent a month in the Pyrenees in 1888, at the age of 66, also shows that he was a physically active man.

A more personal portrait is painted in the report of the Society's presentation to Edwin Lees in 1869. At the celebratory dinner John was called upon to propose the toast to the military - he had long been the Honorary Surgeon to the 4th Staffordshire Volunteers.

The gentle doctor-botanist, so long a member of the club, responding to the toast, reminded them that his position in the military body was a non-combatant one, and he would not have to draw a sword himself ...

On John's death the Edinburgh Botanical Society wrote to one of his daughters (Kate or Sarah?) requesting biographical information that could be used in an obituary to be presented at their AGM. Rather than write this herself she asked John's good friend Joseph Hough to provide the information - his letter was later published in full in the Society's Proceedings. Joseph was a self-made-man who had been astronomer to the second Lord Wrottesley, a past president of the Royal Society. Later in life, after taking a degree at Cambridge, he took up teaching and eventually retired to Codsall Wood, close to the Wrottersley observatory. His words, in addition to confirming some of the information available from other sources, reveal something of the character of John Fraser. From them it becomes clear that John was deeply religious, always showing great respect to his fellow men. It also shows, perhaps surprisingly, that as well as being a man of science he had retained a strong interest in the classics, a subject in which he had excelled as a young man.

"After he was eighty he read the whole of the 'Iliad', and in the last three years of his life he found pleasure in reading Cicero's Letters. He also read regularly the Hebrew Bible, especially the Psalms, always a source of joy and comfort to him. "

"... He was a deeply religious man, always actively benevolent, and his 'Nil nisi Cruce' was exemplified in every action of his long, well-spent life." Joseph Hough


Allen, D. E. 1986. The Botanists. A history of the Botanical Society of the Britsih Isles through a hundred and fifty years. St Paul's Biographies, Winchester.

Babbington, C. 1864. Letter from Professor C Babington and others. Proceedings of the Royal Horticultural Society. 4. 91-93.

Desmond, R. 1994. Dictionary of British & Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists. Natural History Museum.

Edees, E. S. 1972. Flora of Staffordshire. David and Charles, Newton Abbot.

Fraser, J. 1865. Plants found in Staffordshire, 1864. Journal of the Dudley and Midland Geological and Scientific Society and Field Club. 6(II). 56 - 72.

Gibson, G. S. 1866. Letter to Charles Darwin no 5151 7/7/1866.

Hooker, W. J., Hooker, J. D., Oliver, D., Smith, J., Bentham, G. and Thomson, T. 1864. Letter from Sir W Jackson Hooker and others, Kew. Proceedings of the Royal Horticultural Society. 4. 91.

Hough, J. 1910. Obituary of John Fraser in Transactions and Proceedings of the Edinburgh Botanical Society.

Jones, M. M., 1980. The lookers-out of Worcestershire. The Worcestershire Naturalists' Club, Worcester.

Leighton, W. A., 1869. Notes on the lichens of Cader Idris. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Zoology, Botany and Geology. 109 402 - 409.

Miller, H., 1859. My schools and schoolmasters or the story of my education. Thomas Constable and Co., Edinburgh

Seeman, B. 1865. Botanical News. Journal of Botany. 3. 164.

Walker, L. 2004. ‘Becker, Lydia Ernestine (1827–1890)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. [, accessed 9 Dec 2009]

Watson, H. C. 1864. The Horticultural Society's Prizes for County Herbaria. Journal of Botany. 2. 155.

W.G. 1864. Letter to the Editors, Naturalist. 1. 10-11.

Examples of Fraser's handwriting and labels

John Fraser - label HLU427

An example of one of John Fraser's more legible labels.

John Fraser - label HLU5317

This printed label shows the "Latinised" version of his name. The writing is in Fraser's hand and demonstrates that the Newnham material arrived in HLU after direct incorporated into his own, rather than Rev J H Thompson's, herbarium."


Thanks to Frank Sharman, Wolverhampton History and Heritage Society for permission to use the photographs of John Fraser's Wolverhampton house.

Thanks to Peter Monteith of the University of Glasgow Archive Services for hunting out the details of Fraser's university career - it provided many useful leads. Thanks also to Suzanne Grieve of Manchester Museums for extra information on Lydia Becker.

Work in progress ...