House Captains for 2019/20
To be confirmed
Anna Sewell was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England into a devoutly Quaker family. Her father was Isaac Sewell (1793-1879), and her mother, Mary Wright Sewell (1798 - 1884) was a successful author of children's books.
She had one sibling, younger brother (1822–1906) who worked as a construction engineer in Europe, building railways in Spain and elsewhere, before settling back in Norfolk and working as a banker. Anna Sewell was largely educated at home, a regime heavily influenced by her mother's religious and educational convictions. When Anna was twelve years old, the family moved to Stoke Newington, where Sewell attended school for the first time and gained instruction in areas new to her such as mathematics and foreign languages.
Two years later, however, she slipped while walking home from school and severely injured both of her ankles. Her father took a job in Brighton in 1836, partly in the hope that the climate there would help to cure her. Despite this, and most likely because of mistreatment of her injury, Sewell was lame for the rest of her life and was unable to stand without a crutch or to walk for any length of time. For greater mobility, she frequently used horse-drawn carriages, which contributed to her love of horses and concern for the humane treatment of animals.
Sewell's only published work was Black Beauty, written during 1871 to 1877, after she had moved to Old Catton, a village outside the city of Norwich in Norfolk. During this time her health was declining. She was often so weak that she couldn't get out of bed and writing was a challenge. She dictated the text to her mother and from 1876 began to write on slips of paper which her mother then transcribed.
Now considered a children's classic, she originally wrote it for those who worked with horses. She said 'Its special aim being to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses.'
Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. While outwardly teaching animal welfare, it also contains allegorical lessons about how to treat people with kindness, sympathy and respect.