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Frances Batty Shand

Frances Batty Shand, the youngest child of John Shand and Frances Brown, was born in Jamaica in about 1815. Her father had her sent to Scotland in 1819, probably to the care of his unmarried sister, Helen. Helen ran a college in Elgin and had already taken responsibility for raising Millie, Frances’ older sister.

In 1826 Millie married a surgeon of Brechin, John Sandieman. Frances, who did not marry, lived for many years in Cardiff with her brother John, who became secretary of the Rhymney Railway Company. In Cardiff she threw herself into charity work, initially helping street children. In 1865 she opened a small workshop to provide employment for blind men making baskets for carrying coal to steam ships. The workshop grew rapidly and had twice moved to larger premises before she retired in 1877. Now called the Cardiff Institute for the Blind, the charity is housed in a building called Shand House in memory of its founder.

Frances died in Switzerland in 1885, but her body was brought back to Cardiff for burial in Allensbank Cemetery.

A woman and her children, the unofficial family of a deceased European
planter, are sold off as part of his estate in Suriname, c.1830.
(Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library)