Emma Cecilia Farrer was born on the 7th November 1854, daughter to the statistician Thomas Farrer and his wife Frances Erskine. She spent her childhood living in Surrey. She had a keen love for flowers, music and for Scotland. Historian Ann Kennedy-Smith describes her upbringing as ‘in a wealthy, well-educated Victorian world that mixed privilege with politics, science with the arts.’
As a child Emma named herself ‘Ida’ from the Hans Christian Anderson story ‘Little Ida’s Flowers’. We felt that Ida’s act of re-naming herself showed how determined she was as a person to shape her own life and that is was this spirit that led her to campaign for others.