Charles Ansell

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For the 18th century painter, see Charles Ansell (painter).

Charles James Ansell (8 December 1794 – 1881) was a British actuary.

Charles Ansell
Charles Ansell
Born (1794-12-08)8 December 1794
Paddington, Middlesex, England
Died 14 December 1881(1881-12-14) (aged 87)
Brighton, Sussex, England
Residence England
Citizenship British

He was born in Paddington, London and began to work with the Atlas Fire and Life Assurance Company in 1808, when he was 14, and persisted even after his retirement in 1864, when he became a consultant to the company.[1] He rose in authority during his employment until in 1823 he became actuary of the company's life branch. He served similarly at National Provident, the Friends' Provident and the Clergy Mutual Life Office. In 1834, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society.[2]

In 1835 he published A treatise on friendly societies in which the doctrine of the interest of money and the doctrine of probability are applied through Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, a compilation of information related to the illnesses and mortality rates of the working class of England.[1] According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, this treatise "was probably the first rigorous examination of the subject", contributing to the professional success that ultimately led to his being known as "the father of his profession" in the final years of his life.[3]

As a specialist in the subject, he was a sometimes financial advisor for British government, including Parliament. He was described in 1864 by William Ewart Gladstone as "one of the most eminent authorities among actuaries".[3] In his older years, he served as Deputy Lieutenant of Merionethshire, before dying at 87 on 14 December 1881. He was buried in Brighton cemetery. His legacy persisted in his family. Ansell's eldest son and namesake, himself the actuary of National Provident for over three decades beginning in 1852, authored On the Rate of Mortality in 1874. In 1885, Hubert Ansell, who was one of Ansell's grandchildren, became a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries.


  1. ^ a b Proceedings of the Royal Society of London from April 20, 1882 to January 25, 1883. XXXIV. Harrison and Sons. 1883. p. 507. 
  2. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "OXford DNB article:Ansell, Charles". Retrieved 2008-10-16.