Dame_Louisa_Lumsden_by_Bassano_(he_died_1913).png

Dame Louisa Innes Lumsden DBE
1840–1935

LOUISA INNES LUMSDEN (1840-1935), pioneer in women’s education, headmistress and suffragist. One of the first students of Girton College, Cambridge, she was leader of the ‘Girton Five’ or ‘Girton pioneers’. She was founding headmistress of St Leonards School, the first school for girls in Scotland modelled on English public schools. She left in 1882 to look after her invalid mother, travelling widely after her death and returning to St Andrews in 1895 as founder and first warden of University Hall, the first purpose-built hall of residence for women in Scotland.

Life & Women's Education

DAME LOUISA INNES LUMSDEN (1840-1935), born into a wealthy family in Aberdeen, Scotland. She was the youngest of seven children and was educated in private schools in Cheltenham, Brussels and London. She was a lecturer in classics at Girton College, Cambridge and the first Headmistress of St Leonards School, Fife. She is credited with introducing lacrosse to the Scotland. Lumsden was a pioneer in women’s education, headmistress and suffragist. She was an active animal welfare and anti-vivisection campaigner, editing "Our Fellow Mortals" for 11 years. One of the first students of Girton College, Cambridge, she was leader of the ‘Girton Five’ or ‘Girton pioneers’. She was founding headmistress of St Leonards School, the first school for girls in Scotland modelled on English public schools. She left in 1882 to look after her invalid mother, travelling widely after her death and returning to St Andrews in 1894 as founder and first warden of University Hall, the first purpose-built hall of residence for women in Scotland.

Girton College was established by Emily Davies in 1869 in Hitchin a village 27 miles from Cambridge, as the first college for women students, studying for the Tripos examinations. Among the first five students was Louisa Lumsden. She completed the course and went on to become a lecturer at the college. Her vision was for a ‘Scottish Girton’, where a woman had a better chance of meeting her full potential while at university by residing with other students who had the same goals of ‘self-development’. She met formidable opposition, and retired in 1900. After some years she resigned after conflicts with Emily Davies about neglect of student welfare.

Lumsden bought the game of Lacrosse to Scotland after watching the game in Canada. Lumsden, in a letter written home from the White Mountains in New Hampshire dated 6 September 1884, recounted her visit to watch the Canghuwaya Indians play lacrosse against the Montreal Club in Montreal. She wrote: It is a wonderful game, beautiful and graceful. (I was so charmed with it that I introduced it at St Leonards.)"

Miss Lumsden resigned from St Leonards in 1882 but Rosabelle Sinclair, who established the first women's lacrosse team in the United States attended St Leonards between 1906 and 1910. Rosabelle Sinclair established lacrosse for girls at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland.

In 1894 Lumsden became the first Warden of University Hall, University of St.Andrews. The Lumsden Wing at University Hall, St.Andrews was opened in 1962.

She travelled widely, often with her sister Rachel Lumsden, settling in Aberdeen in 1908 where she became active in the suffragist campaign for women’s votes. Alongside Eleanor Mildred Sidgwick, she was awarded an LLD by the St Andrews University in 1911 at the Quincentenary celebrations, the only women so honoured out of over 100 recipients. Her robes were bought for her by former pupils from St Leonards. She chose to interpret the honorary degree as amends for the University’s past treatment. She was made a Dame of the British Empire for her services to education in 1925. In 1914 she addressed wartime recruitment meetings and worked in the Chemistry laboratories for the Ministry of Scientific Warfare. In her eighties she worked for the Unionist Party and Women's Rural Industries and was created DBE in 1925.

Miss Lumsden's autobiography, Yellow Leaves (1933), was eventually presented to the US Lacrosse Museum in Baltimore.

https://standrewsrarebooks.wordpress.com/.../trailblazin.../

http://www.npg.org.uk/.../mp97357/dame-louisa-innes-lumsden

LOUISA INNES LUMSDEN (1840-1935), pioneer in women’s education, headmistress and suffragist. One of the first students of Girton College, Cambridge, she was leader of the ‘Girton Five’ or ‘Girton pioneers’. She was founding headmistress of St Leonards School, the first school for girls in Scotland modelled on English public schools. She left in 1882 to look after her invalid mother, travelling widely after her death and returning to St Andrews in 1895 as founder and first warden of University Hall, the first purpose-built hall of residence for women in Scotland.

 

Louisa Lumsden with Wardens of University Hall, 1900. ALB-41-25.2

Her vision was for a ‘Scottish Girton’, where a woman had a better chance of meeting her full potential while at university by residing with other students who had the same goals of ‘self-development’. She met formidable opposition, and retired in 1900. She then travelled widely, settling in Aberdeen in 1908 where she became active in the suffragist campaign for women’s votes. She was awarded an LLD by the University in 1911 at the Quincentenary celebrations. Her robes were bought for her by former pupils from St Leonards. She chose to interpret the honorary degree as amends for the University’s past treatment. She was made a Dame of the British Empire for her services to education in 1925.

https://special-collections.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/2017/03/07/trailblazing-women-at-the-university-of-st-andrews-a-celebration-for-international-womens-day/?fbclid=IwAR0cgMW1yWf-qThYIHQ_vwTMxPtZw-mB8eeoBZMNPmDJNlEn8oDoG6iZ8Zc/

Life & Women's Education

Dame Louisa Lumsden

The first warden of the first hall of residence in Scotland for women, University Hall, was Louisa Lumsden (1840-1935). Lumsden was one of the Girton pioneers, an early student and later tutor at Girton College, Cambridge, founded in 1869 as a women’s college by Emily Davies and Barbara Bodichon (of the Langham group). Lumsden went on to teach at Cheltenham Ladies College and became first headmistress of St Leonards School, St Andrews from 1877. There were close links between these like-minded women. Louisa Garrett Anderson, daughter of Elizabeth, and niece of Millicent Fawcett, was educated at St Leonards School under Louisa Lumsden. As an activist for women’s education, Lumsden was the perfect candidate for Warden of University Hall and fought hard to establish it.

She was also a suffragist and in retirement served as president of the Aberdeen Suffrage Association from 1908. As representative of the Scottish branch of the NUWSS, she gave a speech at the 1913 rally in Hyde Park.

She was awarded an honorary LLD by St Andrews in the Quincentenary celebrations of 1911, perhaps an acceptance that women were by that time here to stay!

Dame Louisa Innes Lumsden DBE (31 December 1840 – 2 January 1935) born in Aberdeen, Scotland, was a pioneer of female education. Louisa Lumsden was a student and a tutor in classics at Girton College, Cambridge, the first Headmistress of St Leonards School, Fife, and the first warden of University Hall, University of St Andrews. She is credited with introducing lacrosse to St Leonards School.

When the Scottish suffrage organisations organised the planting of a commemorative tree to celebrate (some) women getting the vote in 1918 then Lumsden had the honour of planting The Suffragette Oak.

Early life

Louisa Lumsden was the third daughter and final of seven children of Clements Lumsden, advocate in Aberdeen and Writer to the Signet, and Jane Forbes. Following the death of her father in 1853, when she was 12, Louisa's mother moved temporarily to Cheltenham and Louisa attended a private school there, followed by a period as a boarder at the Chateau de Koekelberg, Brussels, and left there in 1856 to attend a smaller school in London. She returned to live at home with her family in Aberdeenshire in 1857.

University education

The Edinburgh Ladies Education Association, later the Edinburgh Association for the University Education of Women, ran classes for women with lectures given by University of Edinburgh professors. Louisa Lumsden attended classes in the winter of 1868-9. However women students were not entitled to full access to degrees.

A college for women was established by Emily Davies in 1869 in Hitchin a village 27 miles from Cambridge, as the first college for women students studying for the Cambridge Tripos examinations on equal terms with men. As Girton College it moved to new buildings at its present site in 1873.

Louisa Lumsden was one of the first five students to be taught at the Hitchin women's college and one of the first three female students to sit University of Cambridge Tripos examinations unofficially in Lent term 1873, the others being Rachel Cook and Sarah Woodhead; these three were commemorated in song as the Girton Pioneers.

Louisa Lumsden is recorded as having been a student at Girton between 1869 and 1872, a tutor 1873-4 and awarded the Classical Tripos in 1892. She resigned her post as tutor after conflicts with Emily Davies about neglect of student welfare.

 

Lacrosse

 

Lumsden, in a letter written home from the White Mountains in New Hampshire dated 6 September 1884, recounted her visit to watch the Canghuwaya Indians play lacrosse against the Montreal Club in Montreal. She wrote: It is a wonderful game, beautiful and graceful. (I was so charmed with it that I introduced it at St Leonards.)" Rosabelle Sinclair, who established the first women's lacrosse team in the United States attended St Leonards between 1906 and 1910. Rosabelle Sinclair established lacrosse for girls at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland. The US Lacrosse Museum is located in Baltimore.

University Hall

University Hall, the first residential hall for women students in Scotland, was founded at St Andrews University in 1895 and Louisa Lumsden was appointed its first warden. The intention was to create a Scottish version of Girton, but it met some resistance from both men and some of the female students it was intended for and Lumsden resigned her post in 1900.

Women's emancipation

In 1908 Louisa Lumsden accepted an invitation to become president of the Aberdeen Suffrage Association.[9][10] She was a non-militant suffragist and provided a caravan called "Curlew", used by campaigners to travel about the country.[21] In 1913 she spoke at a rally in Hyde Park, London, on behalf of the Scottish branch of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and later became one of the vice-presidents of the Scottish Churches' League for Woman Suffrage.[9][22] She was the one who planted The Suffragette Oak in Glasgow, which was chosen as tree of the year in 2015.[23]

Recognition

Louisa Lumsden was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws (LL.D) by St Andrews University at its Quincentenary celebrations in 1911.[19] Under a Girton College charter, Louisa Lumsden was made a life governor in 1924.[4] Nationally, she was created a Dame in 1925.[4]

The Lumsden Club is named in her honour; its members are current female students at the University of St Andrews, its objective charitable fundraising.[24]

At The University of St Andrews a wing of University Hall is named after Lumsden.[25][3]

Memorial plaque to Louisa Lumsden in Aberdeen to commemorate where she worked at 214 Union Street, Aberdeen , AB10 1TL.[26]

St Leonards School

 

A girls school was founded in St Andrews, Fife, in 1877 and Louisa Lumsden was its first headmistress (1877-1882). St Leonards was the first school for young women in Scotland modelled on an English public school; the progressive curriculum included classics, mathematics and sports. Prior to this Lumsden had been teaching classics at Cheltenham Ladies College (1876-7). Louisa Lumsden's close friend from her Cambridge days, Constance Maynard, accompanied her from Cheltenham to St Andrews and helped to establish the school. Maynard left in 1880 and went on to become the first principal of Westfield College (1882–1913). Louisa Lumsden resigned as headmistress in January 1882 citing ill health and Frances Dove, who also studied at Girton and taught at Cheltenham, was appointed to St Leonards.

 

Born   31 December 1840

Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

Died   2 January 1935 (aged 94)

Edinburgh, UK

Education   Girton College, Cambridge

Occupation  

Headmistress St Leonards School (1877-82)

Known for Girton pioneer. Campaigner for equality for women in education.

Awards   Honorary LL.D (St.A.)

Honours   DBE (Dame of the British Empire)

References