Biography of Annie Horniman
Annie Horniman (1860-1937) was born on October 3, 1860, in Forest Hill, England, as the eldest daughter of Frederick John Horniman who founded the Horniman Museum in London and the sister of Liberal MP Emslie Horniman. Her grandfather, a wealthy Quaker tea merchant, invented the tea bag. As a result of her tea connection, she was known to all as "Hornibags".
Her father made the pilgrimage from Quakerism to Congregationalism to the Church of England. He served for a number of years as a Member of Parliament. His inherited wealth allowed him to travel widely and he assembled a large collection of artifacts from around the world that he housed in a private museum.
In 1882 Horniman entered Slade School of Art (an affiliate of the University of London), where she met Mina Bergson (later Moina Mathers), which leads her to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. She is initiated in 1890 and takes the magical motto "Fortiter et Recte" form the Latin meaning “Bravely and Justly.” She progressed rapidly, and the following year is the first initiate in the more advanced, Second Order. In 1893 she becomes sub-Praemonstratrix of the Isis Urania Temple. She also becomes a major financial backer of Mathers as he continues to develop the Golden Dawn. In the following years she throws herself into theater work and in the 1930s will be honored for her contributions to the British stage. After many years away from the occult, in 1921 Horniman joined the Quest Society formed by theosophist George R. S. Mead.
In 1893 she became the Sub-Praemonstratrix of the Isis Urania Temple. That same year, Horniman received a substantial inheritance from her grandfather that allowed her to enter into the world of the theater by backing the production of a series of dramas staged by Florence Farr, another HOGD member. She also became a major financial backer of Mathers as he continued to develop the Golden Dawn.
Horniman held court a the Midland Hotel, wearing exotic clothing and openly smoking cigarettes, which was scandalous at the time. She introduced Manchester to what was called at the time "the play of ideas". The noted theatre critic James Agate noted that Horniman's high-minded theatrical ventures had an air of gloomy strenuousness about them. Tea money financed productions of Euripedes, Shaw, Galsworth, Masefield and Verhaeren. She supported Manchester dramatists, headed by Alan Monkhouse and Stanley Houghton.
In 1896 Horniman emerged as the opponent within the Golden Dawn of Dr. Edward Berridge, who foolishly openly advocated occult sexual theories. Statements made by Dr. Berridge's (Resurgam) about his interest in the teachings of Thomas Lake Harris, which included sexual techniques and polyfidelity, as well as statements attributed to S.L. MacGregor Mathers about sexual activity on the elemental plane, provoked a conflict between Dr. Berridge and the sexually prudish, Annie Horinman. The conflict polarized the Golden Dawn and ultimately led to a six-month suspension of Dr. Berridge and to the expulsion of Horniman, who enlisted the aid of the equally sexually conservative, E.J. Langford Garstin. The conflict between Horniman and Berridge enormously difficult for the Matherses, who not only depended economically upon Horniman but also needed to remain extremely discreet about the sexual nature of certain teachings in the highest grades of the order.
In the years following her expulsion, Horniman threw herself into theater work and in the 1930s was honored for her contributions to the British stage. After many years away from the occult, in 1921 Horniman joined the Quest Society formed by theosophist George R. S. Mead. She died on August 6, 1937.