Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts
I always admire women who use the resources that God has provided to help those less fortunate than themselves. I’ve taken a real interest in women’s history the past year, and since I’ve been looking into the lives of women, I found a number of nineteenth century women who I extremely admire for their love of God and concern for their fellow man.
One such woman is English philanthropist, Baroness Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts, who lived from 1814 – 1906. She was very wealthy and used much of her inherited fortune to advance benevolent works in her world. Among other things she endowed schools, churches, and housing throughout her native land and abroad.
Angela was born to Sir Francis Burdett, Baronet, but her great wealth came from Thomas Coutts, her banker grandfather. She joined the name of both her father and grandfather and became known as Angela Burdett-Coutts. In 1881 she married William Lehman Ashmead Bartlett, who legally had his named changed to Burdett-Coutts.
Angela had always been a remarkable administrator and she did a fine job administering funds to various causes. Upon finding out the needs of individuals or groups, she took it upon herself to improve their conditions. One of her first great works was to establish a home for young women who had turned aside from a path of innocence to a life of immorality. Nearly half of those who came to the home permanently left their life of sin.
Angela also helped poor communities in London . Spitalfields was a section of destitution in London . To help improve the situation for those living there, the baroness established a sewing school for women where they could be taught, fed, and provided with work. From here nurses were sent out to the sick of that community.
Another poor community in London was Nova Scotia Gardens . It was one of the most immoral, disease-ridden spots in London . Angela purchased this section and upon what was a literal dumping ground of the city she erected apartment-type buildings for about two hundred families, to be rented out at a moderate price.
Angela also took up foreign causes. When the cry came from suffering humanity in Ireland , Scotland , Turkey , and different parts of the world, Baroness Burdett-Coutts was among the first to respond. In Australia she founded an organization to aid the aborigines and she began a relief fund for refugees of the 1877 Russo-Turkish War.
Baroness Angelina Georgina Burdett-Coutts is certainly a role model of philanthropy and charity for women today. While we may not have her means, we can reach out and serve our own communities with the same kind of enthusiasm and heart.
Excerpt from “History’s Women – The Unsung Heroines” by Patricia Chadwick, PC Publications, 2002. Available in ebook format at http://historyswomen.com/product/historys-women/