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WARD, Mrs Humphrey (1851-1920)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 O/030
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Full title: WARD, Mrs Humphrey (1851-1920)
Date(s): 1898-1899
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.76 linear metres.
Name of creator(s): Ward | Mary Augusta | 1851-1920 | nee Arnold | novelist, philanthropist and political lobbyist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Mary Ward: Mary Ward was born Mary Augusta Arnold in June 1851. Her father Thomas Arnold was a school inspector, the son of Dr Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby school, and brother of Matthew Arnold the poet. In July 1871 Mary married journalist Humphry Ward. They had three children: Dorothy (1874-1964), Arnold (1876-1950) and Janet (1879-1956). From the 1880s Mary began to establish herself as a writer and journalist: her novel Robert Elsmere was published in 1888. It was a bestseller and secured Mary's reputation, earning her a 7000 advance on her next book. Mary Ward continued to write throughout her life, producing novels as well as works of a religious nature including biblical criticism. She also went on lecture tours (including in America, where she befriended Theodore Roosevelt) and devoted much time to philanthropic causes. In 1904 her daughter Janet married the historian G.M Trevelyan. From June 1908, and to much opposition from friends and family, Mary agreed to become the head of the Women's Anti-Suffrage Association, who campaigned against the suffragette movement. She began to produce anti-suffrage fiction which was not successful. During the First World War her reputation was improved by her contribution to the war effort. She was asked by Roosevelt to produce propaganda to be sold in America: England's Effort (1916) is credited with helping to involve the United States in the war and was followed by two more books. In 1919 Mary Ward was made a CBE and in 1920 was asked to become one of the country's first woman magistrates. However, over work caused her health to deteriorate, and she died in March 1920.

The Settlement: Mary Ward was encouraged to attempt to found a Settlement along the lines of the Toynbee Hall in East London. Premises in Gordon Square were rented and named the "University Hall Settlement", with the aim of providing "improved popular teaching of the Bible and of the history of religion", and to secure for residents of the Hall "opportunities for religious and social work". There were some religious disagreements among the residents of the Hall and in 1891 a small group secured a separate building east of Tavistock Square, called Marchmont Hall. They ran programmes and clubs for local men and boys, including talks, debates and concerts. Mary Ward decided to launch an appeal to provide a more spacious building which could accommodate the activities of both institutions. In 1894 John Passmore Edwards, a publisher and philanthropist, offered a considerable sum towards the building of a new Settlement on Tavistock Place, which was considered suitable as it was on the edge of an area of great poverty, Saint Pancras. The building was opened in February 1898, named the Passmore Edwards Settlement after its main benefactor.

In 1899 the Settlement expanded to include one of England's first day schools for the physically disabled, the Invalid Children's School. Mary Ward was heavily involved in the movement to provide greater care for the disabled, including the provision of better meals and training for employment.

Mary Ward died in 1920 and in 1921, with the agreement of Passmore Edwards' family, the name of the Settlement was changed to the Mary Ward Settlement (changed to the Mary Ward Centre in around 1970). In 1982 the Centre made a deal with the London County Council to move into nearby 42/43 Queen Square, in the former Stanhope Institute. The Centre runs a wide variety of adult education course and community outreach programmes.


Scope and content/abstract:

Letters from Mary Ward (also known as Mrs Humphry Ward) relating to the establishment of a school for Invalid Children at the Passmore Edwards Settlement, Tavistock Place (later known as the Mary Ward Settlement).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Letters in chronological order.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records gifted in August 1960.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For the main archive of the Mary Ward Settlement, see LMA/4524.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Records prepared May to September 2011.

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