Hilda Beatrice Currie

Lady Currie

Dame Hilda Beatrice Currie (born Hilda Beatrice Hanbury; 24 July 1872 – 19 September 1939), was a British Liberal Party politician.


She was the only daughter of the Quakers, Sir Thomas Hanbury and Katherine Aldam Pease of Ventimiglia, Italy.[1] She grew up at the botanical gardens her parents were creating.

In 1913 she married Sir James Currie. When her husband was knighted in 1920, she became Lady Currie. He died in 1937.[2]


She lived much of her early life in Italy. There she was closely identified with the training of nurses, for which she was decorated by Elena of Montenegro, the Queen of Italy.[3] She founded and maintained the first school for hospital nurses in Italy at Rome, for which she received the Benemerenti medal from the pope.[4]


After moving to Britain she took up residence with her husband in Upham House, Aldbourne, Wiltshire. She joined the Liberal party. She was a Member of the Executive of Women's National Liberal Committee, also serving as its Treasurer. In Wiltshire, she undertook much local voluntary work regarding nursing and the welfare of the blind.[5] She was selected as Liberal candidate for the Devizes Division of Wiltshire at the 1922 General Election. This was her home constituency, so she was already known to a number of the local electorate. This was a Unionist seat that the Liberals had not won since their landslide victory of 1906. At the previous general election in 1918, the Unionists polled two thirds of the vote. Although the Unionists held the seat, Lady Currie was able to substantially reduce the majority;

General Election 1922:Devizes[6] Electorate 24,937
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Unionist William Cory Heward Bell 9,598 59.3 -4.5
Liberal Lady Currie 6,576 40.7 +4.5
Majority 18.6 -9.0
Turnout 64.9 +11.8
Unionist hold Swing -4.5

In 1939 she died at home of pneumonia.[7]


  1. ^ The Catholic Herald 29 September 1939
  2. ^ ‘CURRIE, Sir James’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 13 Feb 2014
  3. ^ The Woman's Year Book, 1923
  4. ^ The Catholic Who's who and Yearbook, 1924
  5. ^ The Woman's Year Book, 1923
  6. ^ British parliamentary election results 1918-1949, Craig, F.W.S.
  7. ^ "Deaths." Times [London, England] 21 Sept. 1939: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.