Maria Rye sets up a law stationer’s business in Lincoln’s Inn to provide employment to young women.

Published 13th June 2016
The office trained women clerks in copying legal documents. Legal copying required skill and accuracy, and was a trade appropriate for women as it was seen as ‘lighter’; they could sit, rather than stand. Good handwriting was required, seen as a skill appropriate for women.

Born in London in 1829, Maria Rye was the eldest of the nine children of Edward Rye, a solicitor, and Maria Tuppen. Rye became concerned with the lack of opportunities of women’s employment outside of teaching. In 1859, she opened a law stationer’s office at 12 Portugal Street, Lincoln’s Inn, in order to give employment opportunities to middle-class girls.

Rye also helped to establish the Victoria Press and the employment bureau and telegraph school in Great Coram Street.
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