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A history of philanthropy

Burdett-Coutts documents

In 1837, Miss Burdett-Coutts, heir to the Coutts banking fortune, inherited circa £2,000,000 from her Grandfather, the banker Thomas Coutts. She visited Whitelands College frequently, attending lectures and examining every detail of the domestic arrangements. As a gift to the College, Miss Burdett-Coutts introduced a system of prize-giving for needlework and domestic economy, “Prizes for Common Things”, which was published in late 1854. Her friend and colleague, Charles Dickens, made significant contributions to this book: he edited it, sought advice from education experts and wrote questions for the examination process.

Burne-Jones stained glass window

In 1874, the Reverend John Pincher Faunthorpe introduced to the College William Morris, leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones, the eminent Pre-Raphaelite artist. Together they designed artefacts for the newly erected College Chapel the most notable being the stained glass windows, designed by Burne-Jones and made in the William Morris factory at Merton Abbey. These windows were paid for by each senior girl giving a £1 from their first salary, this they willingly did such was their love of the College. In 1882, the Seniors raised the £50 for the window of Saint Ursula, in 1883 the Seniors raised the £50 for the window of Saint Agnes and so on until all 12 windows had been paid for.