John Pease Fry

John Pease Fry (1864-1957), a baronet, was listed as one of the original members of the War and Social Order Committee as “Sir John Pease Fry” – in a noticeable departure from the Quaker custom of ignoring titles. He was the author, in 1908, of The Advent of Quakerism, and so was part of the early-twentieth-century rediscovery of early Quaker life and thought.

John Pease Fry did not remain on the War and Social Order Committee for very long and was not a member when the Foundations were approved. He was the director of a coal and coke company in County Durham – Bearpark Colliery – which made him a significant figure in various controversies as Quakers considered their responses to the coal strikes in the 1920s. For example, he was a joint author with B. Seebohm Rowntree and Herbert Wood of The Function of the Society of Friends with Regard to Social and Industrial Problems (Leominster: Orphans’ Press, 1927). Fry’s section criticised the (then) War and Social Order Committee – and its “chairman”, Lucy Morland – for pushing Yearly Meeting to endorse a policy of nationalisation. He argued that this would “turn the Society from a religious into a political body”.