Dora, Countess Russell wife of eminent philosopher Bertrand Russell spent her early childhood years in this house in Thornton Heath.
Dora was born at Berwick Lodge the house, which is on the corner of Luna Road and St Paul’s Square in 1884 home to Sir Frederick and Sarah Black. Today it still stands and while it has been conveted in to six flats it still has its architectural charm.
Dora Russell campaigned for birth control and co-founded the Birth Control Workers Group with H.G. Wells and John Maynard Keynes. She ran as the Labour candidate for Chelsea in the general election and was a founding member of the National Council for Civil Liberties. In 1927 she set up a progressive school called Beacon Hill which she ran by herself until the Second World War. The war prompted Dora to join the worldwide movement, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Dora who died aged 92 in Cornwall was baptised in nearby St Paul’s church and recalls in her three-volume autobiography, The Tamarisk Tree, published in 1977 in volume 1 – My quest for liberty and love: “Unlike the poet, I do not clearly remember the house where I was born. I have a dim vision of a semi-detached at the top of a hill in Thornton Heath. What I recall definitely is the move – a very short distance – to Berwick Lodge, spacious and detached, bordering on St.Paul’s Square.”
These are some of her most famous quotes:
“We have heeded no wisdom offering guidance. Only by learning to love one another can our world be saved. Only love can conquer all.”
“We want far better reasons for having children than not knowing how to prevent them.”
“Marriage, laws, the police, armies and navies are the mark of human incompetence.”