Elizabeth Braund, 1921-2013
Elizabeth Margaret Braund MBE passed away on May 20 at her home, East Shallowford Farm on Dartmoor.
She was 91 years old. Born in Kensington in 1921, she was the only child of His Honour Judge Sir Henry and Lady Margaret Braund. Her early years and life experiences in India and Burma encouraged her ability to think critically and after the war she began to work for the BBC, writing scripts and undertaking research. One unlikely research project was the history of the Bible for a radio series, but under God this began the journey that led to her life’s work.
Introduced to Westminster Chapel by the family doctor, she was challenged by the fresh and direct preaching of Martin Lloyd-Jones, and came to a vibrant and thinking faith in the early 1950s. Partly under his guidance, and with her own energy and inquiring mind, she launched herself into a series of Christian journalistic projects that ended with the founding of The Evangelical Magazine, for which she was managing editor throughout its life, until competing calls to mission prevented her from continuing with it.
Mission among the slums
When the magazine took up offices in the empty Providence Chapel in Battersea in the early 60s, the door opened literally to a new kind of mission. Elizabeth found herself in a largely unchurched community, still recovering from the extensive bomb damage of the war, and soon to be re-developed into modern housing estates. She began to work with children and young people, and very soon the old church became a thriving centre for young people and families. Supported by Christian friends from Westminster Chapel and other places, and in particular by Rosemary Bird who became a lifelong colleague in the changing work, Providence House grew. Following the re-development, a new purpose-built centre was opened on Falcon Road in 1970. Here the work was in the centre of the melting pot of social and demographic change.
Concrete jungle to farm
Assessing early on the negative effects of ‘the concrete jungle’, she felt compelled to find something new for her community and, in 1976, secured the resources to purchase East Shallowford Farm on Dartmoor. For almost 40 years inner city families and young people have made their way to that remote farm, and returned enriched by the experience. The work of Providence House and the Shallowford Trust carry on the work that she started so imaginatively under the leading of God.