Christian campaigner honoured by Royal Mail

Prominent Christian campaigner Josephine Butler has been honoured by the Royal Mail, which is featuring her in a new stamp collection.

She is included in a set of six stamps marking some of the UK’s greatest humanitarians, which has just been released.

During the 19th century, Butler campaigned for women’s rights and was hugely instrumental in raising the age of consent from 13 to 16 for girls.


Her campaign led to the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, which set out a number of protections for children.

As well as raising the age of consent, the Act made it a criminal offence to procure girls for prostitution by threats, fraud or administering drugs.

Householders were punished for allowing under-age sex on their premises and girls were given greater protections from abduction and detainment for the purposes of sex.

Today, more than ever, we need leaders of Josephine’s calibre and moral conviction

Ciarán Kelly


The Christian Institute’s Head of Communications, Ciarán Kelly, commented: “Josephine and her fellow campaigners saw the law on the age of consent as a vital protection, needed to shield children from harm.

“For more than a hundred years now it has done just that.

“Sadly today some groups seek to push a harmful agenda that says sexual activity between children is perfectly acceptable.

“Today, more than ever, we need leaders of Josephine’s calibre and moral conviction to fight ongoing injustice and exploitation.”


The Royal Mail’s stamp collection also includes social reformer Joseph Rowntree, hospice founder Sue Ryder, and Eglantyne Jebb – who campaigned for the welfare and rights of children.

The other two stamps feature Nicholas Winton – who has been dubbed ‘Britain’s Schindler’ for saving the lives of hundreds of Jewish children – and John Boyd Orr, a Scottish biologist who campaigned for better nutrition and food provision.