Community//

PHILANTHROPY IN THE 19TH CENTURY BRITAIN

England in the 19th century was, in many ways, a dark place. Society was not particularly fond of or kind to the poor and displaced. Not many citizens felt moved to help those in need, which allowed for those who did, to stand out all the more brightly among the dark background of the 19th […]

England in the 19th century was, in many ways, a dark place. Society was not particularly fond of or kind to the poor and displaced. Not many citizens felt moved to help those in need, which allowed for those who did, to stand out all the more brightly among the dark background of the 19th century. One such kind soul was, Angela Burdett-Coutts, who was likened to a real-life angel. 

Angela Burdett-Coutts

Angela lived from 1814-1906 and lived a life of helpfulness and selflessness. Queen Victoria even recognized her in 1871 for her charitable actions. She was friends with famous author Charles Dickens, a man most acquainted with the poor and downtrod. To much of history, she was known as “Queen of the Poor,” as she continually translated her enthusiasm to helping the less fortunate. 

Amongst a variety of charitable donations, she even helped medical activist Florence Nightingale, with the equipment she needed to help soldiers serving in Crimea. Burdett-Coutts was increasingly concerned with those who needed adequate housing, child labor, military wives, and education. 

Thanks to the 1834 report on the poor law, there was an emphasis on the religious and literary education of the poor. An extra attention was added to the need for all citizens to understand their duties to the general welfare of the country. Because of this, even employers were required to allow some educational assistance for the poor classes. 

As the role of the philanthropist shifted, so did the efforts of Burdett-Coutts increase. She assisted with the funding of schools, offered evening classes for poverty-stricken adults and children alike, and enable skill-learning. She not only provided assistance to Britain, but her influence spread to Ireland to provide relief during the Great Potato Famine. 

Being a philanthropist is often a thankless and challenging job. Luckily, the efforts of Angela Burdett-Coutts are recognized by history, for which she will go down as a hero to the poor in the 19th century. 

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Dr. Una O. Osili Ph.D.: “How I Aim To Change How We Think About Generosity”

    by Yitzi Weiner
    Community//

    #SHEROproject Angela Magaña’s story

    by Dawn Burnett
    Community//

    The big picture

    by Uzma

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.