Violet Rosa Markham was the daughter of Charles Markham, owner of a profitable colliery, and the maternal granddaughter of Sir Joseph Paxton, who designed the Crystal Palace. Violet was educated at home under a governess before finishing her schooling at Ham Common, London. She campaigned for a seat in Parliament as an anti-suffragist, but was unsuccessful. She was a member of the Chesterfield Education Authority from 1899 to 1934, and in 1902, was the founder-president of the Chesterfield Settlement. She was elected to the Chesterfield town council and later served as mayor in 1927. In 1915, she married Lieutenant-Colonel James Carruthers, but continued to be known and write under her maiden name. During World War I, she was appointed to the executive committee of the National Relief Fund and subsequently was the first woman named to a senior position of the Unemployment Assistance Board. At the end of the war, she accompanied her husband to Cologne, Germany, where he was stationed as chief demobilization officer for the British Army of the Rhine. Violet Markham published several works such as A Woman’s Watch on the Rhine (1921), based on her husband’s wartime experiences, and two volumes of her personal memoirs, Return Passage (1953) and Friendship’s Harvest (1956).