Engraving of Tait published 1879
Former workhouse in Nantwich, dating from 1780

Her experience was consulted when Louisa Twining formed the Workhouse Visiting Society with wider ambitions.

- Catharine Tait

One of the people she consulted was Catharine Tait who as the wife of the Dean of Carlisle had thrust herself into visiting her local workhouse.

- Workhouse Visiting Society
Engraving of Tait published 1879

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Louisa Twining c. 1906

Louisa Twining

English philanthropic worker who devoted herself to issues and tasks related to the English Poor Law.

English philanthropic worker who devoted herself to issues and tasks related to the English Poor Law.

Louisa Twining c. 1906

In March 1861, she helped to establish a home for workhouse girls sent out to service, in 1864 the Workhouse Visiting Society, in 1866 the Association for the Improvement of the Infirmaries of London Workhouses and in 1879 the Workhouse Infirmary Nursing Association.

Archibald Campbell Tait

Archbishop of Canterbury in the Church of England and theologian.

Archbishop of Canterbury in the Church of England and theologian.

Archbishop Tait by Henry Hering.
Archbishop Tait.
Illustration from Punch Magazine, showing Archbishop Tait, trying to control the "Ritualist black sheep" with his crook called the "Public Worship Regulation Bill"
Addington Palace traditional the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archibald Campbell Tait's tomb in Canterbury Cathedral

He had married Catharine Spooner at Rugby in 1843.

Although many deterrent workhouses developed in the period after the New Poor Law, some had already been built under the existing system. This workhouse in Nantwich, Cheshire, dates from 1780.

English Poor Laws

The English Poor Laws were a system of poor relief in England and Wales that developed out of the codification of late-medieval and Tudor-era laws in 1587–1598.

The English Poor Laws were a system of poor relief in England and Wales that developed out of the codification of late-medieval and Tudor-era laws in 1587–1598.

Although many deterrent workhouses developed in the period after the New Poor Law, some had already been built under the existing system. This workhouse in Nantwich, Cheshire, dates from 1780.
The Poor Laws in the aftermath of the Black Death (pictured), when labour was in short supply, were concerned with making the able-bodied work. (also see: Sturdy beggar)
The Old Poor Law or Elizabethan Poor Law is sometimes referred to as the "43rd Elizabeth" as it was passed in the 43rd year that Elizabeth I (pictured) reigned as Queen.
Advertisement for builders to build a new Workhouse in north Wales, 1829
Nassau William Senior argued for greater centralization of the Poor Law system.
Infighting between Edwin Chadwick and other Poor Law Commissioners was one reason for an overhaul of Poor Law administration.
David Lloyd George, architect of the Liberal welfare reforms which were implemented outside of the Poor Law system and paved the way for the eventual abolition of the Poor Law.
Punch criticized the New Poor Law's workhouses for splitting mothers and their infant children.

The Workhouse Visiting Society which formed in 1858 highlighted conditions in workhouses and led to workhouses being inspected more often.

Madeleine Shaw Lefevre, 1890 portrait

Madeleine Shaw Lefevre

The Principal of Somerville Hall for its first 10 years, from 1879 to 1889.

The Principal of Somerville Hall for its first 10 years, from 1879 to 1889.

Madeleine Shaw Lefevre, 1890 portrait

The Countess was a founding member of the Workhouse Visiting Society, and through this connection Shaw Lefevre became a member of the central committee of the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants.

Former workhouse in Nantwich, dating from 1780

Workhouse infirmary

Workhouse infirmaries were established in the nineteenth century in England.

Workhouse infirmaries were established in the nineteenth century in England.

Former workhouse in Nantwich, dating from 1780

The Workhouse Visiting Society was set up in 1858 exposed the poor standards of nursing care.

Honington Hall, her home for most of her life

Mary Elizabeth Townsend

British philanthropist and co-founder of the Girls' Friendly Society.

British philanthropist and co-founder of the Girls' Friendly Society.

Honington Hall, her home for most of her life

Fosbery introduced her to other key women: Elizabeth Carlyon, wife of Harold Browne, Wilberforce's successor as Bishop of Winchester; Catharine Tait, founder of the Ladies Diocescan Society in 1865 and wife of Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury; and Jane Senior, who shortly afterwards went on to co-found the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants.

Lucy Cavendish at about the time of her marriage

Lucy Cavendish

Pioneer of women's education.

Pioneer of women's education.

Lucy Cavendish at about the time of her marriage

In the same year she was excited to join the Ladies Diocesan Association run by Catharine Tait with the prospect of visiting workhouses to try and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Insignia of a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle

Archibald Kennedy, 2nd Marquess of Ailsa

Scottish peer.

Scottish peer.

Insignia of a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle

Eleanor as Marchioness was involved with Catharine Tait's Ladies Diocesan Association visiting the poor in the City Road Workhouse.

Jane Nassau Senior, in an 1859 painting by George Frederic Watts.

Jane Senior

Britain's first female civil servant, and a philanthropist.

Britain's first female civil servant, and a philanthropist.

Jane Nassau Senior, in an 1859 painting by George Frederic Watts.
The county of Surrey, most of the metropolitan part of which is shown here south of the Thames, as the zone stood when joining the inceptive County of London in 1889. It contained in the part shown and three parishes beyond, to the east, many poor streets. These are shaded blue and black, by Charles Booth (social reformer).

It brought together Senior, Elizabeth, wife of the Very Reverend Harold Browne Bishop of Winchester, Catharine Tait, and Mary Elizabeth Townsend (1841–1918).

Prince Albert Edward and Princess Alexandra on their wedding day, 1863

Wedding of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and Princess Alexandra of Denmark

The wedding of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and Princess Alexandra of Denmark took place on 10 March 1863 at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

The wedding of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and Princess Alexandra of Denmark took place on 10 March 1863 at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Prince Albert Edward and Princess Alexandra on their wedding day, 1863
Princess Alexandra of Denmark and the Prince of Wales, 1863
The wedding of the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Windsor, 10 March 1863
Combined coat of arms of Albert Edward and Alexandra, the Prince and Princess of Wales
Princess Alexandra of Denmark, in her wedding dress (10 March 1863)

The Bishop of London and Catharine Tait