Miss Lilian Mary Faithfull

None of what we do would be possible if it wasn’t for Miss Lilian Mary Faithfull.

Lilian Faithfull, born on 12 March 1865, was an English teacher, headmistress, women’s rights advocate, magistrate, social worker and humanitarian.

In 1883, Lilian Faithfull entered Somerville College of Oxford University, just four years after it was established.

Lilian was one of the “Steamboat ladies,” who were part of the struggle for women to gain university degrees. A time when Oxford and Cambridge did not confer degrees upon women. Lilian claimed an ‘ad eundem degree’ from Trinity College Dublin in 1905.

Photo 1 – In 1895 age 30, Lilian became the Captain and the first President of the Ladies’ Hockey Association (later the All England Women’s Hockey Association), and remained in that role until at least 1907.

In 1906 Miss Lilian Faithfull became Principal of Cheltenham Ladies’ College until 1922.

Photo 2 – Age 50, here she is photographed in her car surrounded by nurses outside St Martin’s in 1916. The first women in Cheltenham to own a car.

During WWI she converted one of the College boarding houses into a Red Cross hospital staffed by herself and former pupils.

In 1920, she became Justice of the Peace for Cheltenham, becoming one of the first women magistrates in England.

Photo 3 – In 1946, age 81, Lilian started our Charity. At the inaugural meeting of supporters she famously declared, “something must be done” after seeing Cheltenham’s population suffering in old age despite having given so much during the war years.

On 2 May 1952, Lilian passed away age 87 at Faithfull House, one of our current care homes in Suffolk Square in Cheltenham.

A formidable and inspiring lady leading the way in her time and her legacy lives on in all that we do.

To read more about the history of our charity visit: www.lilianfaithfull.co.uk/about-us/our-history