‘Poor, honest young woman’ awarded dowry from Italian’s City bequest

16:31 12 December 2013

The 150-year-old bequest. Picture: City of London Corporation

The 150-year-old bequest. Picture: City of London Corporation

Archant

A dowry has been paid to a London woman out of a 150-year-old fund for “poor, honest young women”.

The happy couple: Lorna and James Emmett. Picture: Adam Priscak/City of London CorporationThe happy couple: Lorna and James Emmett. Picture: Adam Priscak/City of London Corporation

Accountant Lorna Emmett, 31, has been awarded £150 from sum of money bequeathed to the City of London Corporation by an Italian lover in 1882.

Pasquale Favale, who fell in love and married a City girl, left 18,000 - or £720 (£61,000 in today’s money) - to the authority stipulating that each year a portion of the money go to “a poor, honest young woman, native of the City of London, aged 16 to 25 who has recently been or are about to be married”.

The Corporation has confessed to struggling to find “poor women” living in its prohibitively expensive central London locality - but this year opted for one Lorna Emmett, an accountant born 31 years ago at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in Smithfield.

She said: “I feel really honoured to be part of such a romantic story and more so being a part of London’s history. I hope Pasquale Favale is looking down smiling.”

Though others were less impressed.

The Green’s only peer, Baroness Jenny Jones of Moulsecoomb, who was born on a council estate near Brighton, said: “As an ex-archaeologist, I respect traditions. But you have to ask in this case if the time and energy given to finding the person costs more than the gift?

“If possible, giving the money to a local charity for women or children might be a better use of the fund.”

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