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Camden New Journal - OBITUARY
Published: 3 July 2008

Frances Brown
Peace campaigner ‘the sort of person CND was built on’

FRANCES Brown, who has died aged 97, will be remembered as a founding member of South End Green Association and a popular teacher at Fitzjohn’s Primary School in Hampstead, and for her links with the peace movement and her exceptional ability as a folk musician and dancer.
Frances, who lived in South Hill Park, in Hampstead, was born in Tooting in 1911, the daughter of a travelling salesman, and spent her childhood in Bristol. She left school at 16 and worked as a post office clerk.
Her sister Marjorie was involved in the English Folk Song and Dance Society and organised an annual festival. In 1943, Frances attended the event at a hotel in Upper Woburn Place, Euston, where she met Nathaniel Brown, a USAF serviceman.
He had learned European dances in New York and on the night they met said he was impressed by Frances’s knowledge of a Swedish dance called the Hambo. They were married in the States in 1946 and moved back to London to live in Pond Street, South End Green, in 1949.
After taking a teacher training course she joined Fitzjohn’s in 1954, remaining until her retirement in 1971.
Dance and folk music were always a large part of her life. As she got older and was no longer able to dance, she played the concertina at Cecil Sharp House in Primrose Hill on Monday nights.
In 1973, her home became a haven for Chilean refugees after the overthrow of Salvador Allende’s government. Among those she helped was Joan Jara, widow of Victor Jara, a well-known theatre director and singer-songwriter who had been kidnapped, tortured and murdered by General Pinochet’s police. His widow and two daughters became family friends.
Former Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament chairman Bruce Kent has paid tribute to Frances’s lifelong dedication to the peace movement.
He said: “She was great company. She was determined and generous with her time. You could always rely on her. She was the sort of person CND was built on.
“She was involved with CND right from the very beginning. The Blair world of today would have upset her very much.”
South End Green Association’s Michael Render described Frances and her late husband Nat as “inspirational”. He said: “In 1966, Frances, with others, set up the association to fight a number of threats to the Green, not least plans to build a flyover.
“She was a striking character and showed our community that the future of the area is in our hands. We’ll miss her very much but her legacy lives on.”

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