Dame Louisa Innes Lumsden.jpg

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!

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