Former home of Helen Gladstone, Hawarden

button-theme-womenFormer home of Helen Gladstone, Hawarden

hawarden_helen_gladstone_crestThe house now known as Hawarden Grange was built in 1907 for Helen Gladstone, a pioneer of women’s education. It was later a rectory. It’s now a private residence – please do not go beyond the gates.

Helen Gladstone (1849-1925) was the youngest daughter of four-times Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and his wife Catherine. She studied at Newnham College, Cambridge, and was its Vice Principal from 1882 to 1896, when she returned to Hawarden to look after her ageing parents.

While at Cambridge, Helen befriended Charles and Emma Darwin. In 1887 she co-founded the Women’s University Settlement (WUS) in Southwark to provide education and recreation facilities for poor people in London, particularly women and children. Another of the founders was Octavia Hill, who later co-founded the National Trust. Helen was warden of the WUS from 1901 to 1906.

Helen also promoted improvements to education and social welfare in Wales. In 1894 she became representative governor of Flintshire’s intermediate schools (now termed secondary schools). At the prize-giving ceremony for intermediate pupils in Llanelli in 1913, she said girls had made greater progress than boys in the last two generations, because they’d started from a lower level at a time when a good education wasn’t regarded as important for girls.

hawarden_helen_gladstone_sundialWhen she retired to Hawarden in 1907, her friends at the WUS presented her with a sundial. She named her newly built house The Sundial. The original sundial, with its WUS plaque, still stands outside the house. On one of the gable walls is a crest with the date 1907 and Helen’s initials (see photos on right). She is commemorated on a tablet in the porch of St Deiniol's Church.

After her death, the house became Hawarden’s rectory, replacing the large building now occupied by Flintshire Record Office. The house had fallen into disrepair when it was purchased by Barry Chatburn in the 1980s.

Postcode: CH5 3NS     View Location Map