Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 04 – Victorian Philanthropy and its Legacy
Judith Edge’s talk is about Victorian Philanthropy and its Legacy. She introduces us to four different people and one couple.
A Quaker and businessman from York. He made his fortune from chocolate and created three Charitable trusts in 1904:
- The Joseph Rowntree Village Trust to set up and manage the village of New Earswick. The village was built to provide homes for his employees.
- The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. It is a Quaker trust that supports people who address the root causes of conflict and injustice.
- The Joseph Rowntree Social Services Trust.
We learn that she was an English social reformer. Octavia was concerned with the inhabitants of cities, especially London. She was a major force in the development of social housing.
A believer in self-reliance, this was a feature in the work that she did. She believed in ‘open spaces’ for all and was one of the three founders of the National Trust.
She was the daughter of Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Baronet and Sophia, the daughter of banker Thomas Coutts. In 1837 she became one of the wealthiest women in England. She inherited her grandfather’s fortune of around £1.8 million (£160 million in 2019).
She spent much of the rest of her life trying to use her fortune for good works. A great friend of Charles Dickens and the Duke of Wellington she married her American secretary in 1881. She was 67, he was 29! Because she married a foreigner 60% of her income transferred to her sister.
Many of us have heard of the Peabody Trust. Did we know that he was an American?
George was born in Massachusetts in a town that now bears his name. His family were poor. He went into business and then into banking and moved to London in 1837.
In 1854 he partnered with J S Morgan and after his retirement the company became J P Morgan & Co.
Ada and Alfred Salter:
The talk finishes with the story of this couple who dedicated much of their lives to the people of Bermondsey.
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