Helen Gladstone

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Helen Gladstone
Helen Gladstone of Newnham College by William Blake Richmond.jpg
Vice-principal of Newnham College
In office
Personal details
London, England,
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Died19 August 1925
Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Alma materNewnham College

Helen Gladstone (1849 – 19 August 1925) was a British educationist and vice-principal at Newnham College in Cambridge.


Gladstone was born in London. She was the last daughter of William Gladstone. Helen came to notice when her sister Mary proposed that she should become one of the first students to study at Newnham College in Cambridge. She attended when she was 28 and was far from confident. She was one of 25 students. She decided to not take the tripos but she did pass the higher examination.[1]

Gladstone became the assistant to the first principal, Anne Clough, when she had completed her course.[2] She became vice principal of Newnham after Nora Sidgwick in 1892.[1]

In 1886 she turned down the chance of a career as she could have been the first principal of Royal Holloway College but she decided to care for her parents and she was not sure if they just wanted "a Gladstone."[2] Actually she did not need to resign from Newnham until 1896 as by then her parents needed her care. She was remembered at Newnham for telling anecdotes that too frequently mentioned her father.[1] Both of her parents had died by 1900.

Gladstone and Octavia Hill helped to found the Women's University Settlement, located in Nelson Square in Southwark. She became the second Warden, succeeding Margaret Sewell in 1901. This initiative is now known as the Blackfriars Settlement.[3][4] Gladstone and nine other women had founded the Settlement in 1887, following the establishment of Toynbee Hall, the first of many organisations in deprived communities known as the Settlement Movement. She served in the role until 1910.[2]

In 1922 her former lady's maid, Auguste Schlüter, who had kept contact with the Gladstone family published her memoirs.[5]

Gladstone died in Hawarden in 1925.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Sheila Fletcher, ‘Gladstone, Helen (1849–1925)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online ed., May 2006, accessed 10 March 2017
  2. ^ a b c Helen Gladstone, Biographies, Newnham College, retrieved 10 March 2017
  3. ^ Blackfriars Settlement, History, Retrieved 15 May 2017
  4. ^ Darley, Gillian (1990). Octavia Hill. Constable. p. 264. ISBN 978-0-09-469380-7.
  5. ^ K. D. Reynolds, ‘Schlüter, Auguste (1849–1917)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 14 March 2017