Alice Cornwell

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Alice Ann Cornwell
Alice Ann Cornwell in 1889.jpg
Born1 January 1852
West Ham
Died7 January 1932(1932-01-07) (aged 80)
Hove
NationalityUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
EducationRoyal Academy of Music
Occupationmine and newspaper owner
Spouse(s)
  • John Whiteman
  • "Phil" Robinson

Alice Ann Cornwell or Alice Whiteman or Alice Robinson (1 January 1852 – 7 January 1932) was a British goldmining industrialist and newspaper proprietor. She made her fortune from gold and floated her company on the London Stock Exchange. She was a confident business person investing in several companies including owning the Sunday Times

Life[edit]

Cornwell was born in West Ham in 1852 to Jemima and George Cornwell. She and her family emigrated to New Zealand when she was nine.[1] Her father was an engineer.

Her first marriage was with the much older John Whiteman. He was a politician and publican. This marriage resulted in a legal separation before she left for England, but it was not ended until Whiteman died.

Her fortune was made when she returned from England after education at the Royal Academy of Music to Australia. Her father was a successful engineer who was then prospecting but he was not making a profit. Cornwell studied his ground and convinced others that a major find lay beneath his land. Shafts were created where she had indicated and gold was reputedly found within 30 centimetres of where she had said it would be.[1]

In 1886 she returned to London as a reputed millionaire, although this may have been an exaggeration. Despite not being able to enter London's club's because of her gender she floated the "Midas Mine" on the London Stock Exchange. Moreover she also created the British and Australian Mining Trust and Investment Company. The purpose of this company was to allow people to invest money directly in Australian mines.[2]

Cornwell bought the Sunday Times in 1887 from Colonel George FitzGeorge who an illegitimate member of the Royal Family.[3] Her purpose was promote her new company and it was a gift to her lover Frederick Stannard (‘Phil’) Robinson.[1] In 1888 her friend Fergus Hume wrote a novel, "Madame Midas" about a "Mrs Villiers" which was obviously based on Cornwell.[2]

Cornwell sold the "Sunday Times" in 1893 to Frederick Beer, who already owned Observer. Beer appointed his wife, Rachel Sassoon Beer, as editor.[4]

Cornwell's estranged first husband died in 1893[5] and she married Robinson in 1894.[1]

Cornwell died in 1932 in Hove.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Griffiths, D. (2004-09-23). Cornwell [other married names Whiteman, Robinson], Alice Ann (1852–1932), gold-mining industrialist and newspaper proprietor. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 9 Dec. 2017, see link
  2. ^ a b "Woman with the golden touch". 2017-01-27. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  3. ^ Eilat Negev (6 September 2012). The First Lady of Fleet Street: The Life, Fortune and Tragedy of Rachel Beer. Biteback Publishing. pp. 126–. ISBN 978-1-84954-460-3.
  4. ^ Hobson, Harold, Knightley, Phillip and Russell, Leonard (1972). The Pearl of Days. Hamish Hamilton. p. 52. ISBN 0 241 02266 5.
  5. ^ Bush Advocate cited by earlyphotographers, Volume IX, Issue 729, 19 January 1893, Page 2