Mary Monica Waterhouse Bridges was born on Aug. 31, 1863 in Manchester, Lancashire, England to Alfred Waterhouse and Elizabeth Sarah Langton Hodgkin. Her father, Alfred, was a famous English architect and most likely the most successful of all Victorian architects. Her mother, Elizabeth, was a Quaker, authored several books, including a collection of verse and some anthologies, and was an accomplished water-colourist.
M. M. Waterhouse married Robert Seymour Bridges in 1884 and they had 3 children. Her husband, 20 years older than her, was a doctor by training, but is better known today for his literary work, especially his poetry writing and for being appointed Poet Laureate in 1913.
Mrs. Bridges is best known in CM circles for her 1899 publication on handwriting, titled A New Handwriting for Teachers. Being immensely interested in handwriting and after altering her own hand towards writing with Italianized Gothic of the 16th century, she was begged by professional teachers to have a book printed with her handwriting that could be used in their schools. In this book she makes a case for bringing beautiful handwriting back into schools by revisiting the great 16th and 17th century Italian letterforms. She wanted there to be good models for slow writing and for children to have reproductions of the alphabet in their possession to learn from. Her book was used in grades 1-9 for many years.
Mrs. Robert Bridges had also other accomplishments that are less known. She was a talented pianist and a composer. Her husband was the author and translator of many well-known hymns, and Mary helped him with his work. During her lifetime she arranged tunes to 28 hymns.
M. M. Bridges passed away on Nov. 9, 1949, at age 86, and was buried in the St. Peter and St. Paul Churchyard.
Researched and written by Ella @schoolhousegrace