Portrait of Louise Creighton aged 27 by Bertha Johnson, 1878.
Louise Creighton, Wife of Mandell Creighton, Bishop of London, by Glyn Philpot

Louise Hume Creighton (née von Glehn; 7 July 1850 – 15 April 1936) was a British author of books on historical and sociopolitical topics, and an activist for a greater representation of women in society, including women's suffrage, and in the Church of England.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Louise was born at Peak Hill Lodge in Sydenham on 7 July 1850. She was one of the younger daughters of Robert von Glehn, a City of London merchant, and his wife, Agnes Duncan. Her older brother was Alfred de Glehn, the designer of the French steam locomotive engine. She was homeschooled before she passed, with honours, the General Examination for Women, the first London University higher examination for women. She was a prolific reader and a keen student of both the writings of John Ruskin and the Whigs historian John Richard Green.

Marriage to Mandell CreightonEdit

In 1872, Louise married Mandell Creighton, a University of Oxford-educated historian who later became a University of Cambridge Professor in ecclesiastical history, and was appointed Church of England bishop of Peterborough, in 1891, and London, in 1897. The couple had seven children: Beatrice in 1872, Lucia in 1874, Cuthbert in 1876, Walter in 1878, Mary in 1880, Oswin in 1883; and Gemma in 1887.[2]

Women's rights advocacyEdit

In 1885, Creighton founded the National Union of Women Workers with Lady Laura Ridding and Emily Janes. Although it was called a union, its purpose was to co-ordinate the voluntary efforts of women across Great Britain.[3] Its purpose was to "promote sympathy of thought and purpose among the women of Great Britain and Ireland"[4] Creighton was its first president.

In 1890 Creighton and Kathleen Lyttelton founded the Ladies Dining Society. Many of its members were associated with Newnham College, one of the first Cambridge colleges offering University level education to women. Members included the college's principal Eleanor Sidgwick, the economist Mary Paley Marshall, the classicist Margaret Verrall, Newnham lecturers Mary Jane Ward and Ellen Wordsworth Darwin, the mental health campaigner Ida Darwin, Baroness Eliza von Hügel and the US socialites Caroline Jebb and Maud Darwin. After Creighton moved away she still invited the group to visit her in Peterborough and Fulham. The society met in Cambridge until the First World War.[5]

Creighton was a popular author, particularly of historical biographies and stories for children including the successful "Child's First History of England".

Later careerEdit

After the death of her husband in 1901, Creighton became an influential advocate for women's suffrage and social reform. As well as writing and editing books, she served on two Royal Commissions and the Joint Committee of Insurance Commissioners.

As a member of the Standing Committee of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, she helped promote the work of women missionaries and took a leading role chairing the women's meetings at the Pan-Anglican Congress of 1908.

After nearly twenty years living in a grace-and-favour apartment at Hampton Court Palace, Creighton moved back to Oxford in the late 1920s, and subsequently served on the governing board of Lady Margaret Hall. After a period of declining health, she died on 15 April 1936, and her cremated remains were buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, London in the grave of her husband.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Covert 2000, pp. 67–72, Covert 2000, pp. 295–317
  2. ^ Covert 2000, pp. 83–126
  3. ^ Serena Kelly, ‘Ridding , Lady Laura Elizabeth (1849–1939)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 22 Nov 2017
  4. ^ "Socities (sic) Which Help Women And Children. No. 1. The National Union Of Woman Workers". chestofbooks.com. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  5. ^ Smith, Ann Kennedy (9 May 2018). The Ladies Dining Society. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.109658.


  • Covert, James (2000), A Victorian Marriage: Mandell and Louise Creighton, London and New York: Hambledon and London. Pp. xv, 412, 35 plates, ISBN 1-85285-260-7
  • Covert, James Thayne (2004), "Louise Hume Creighton (1850–1936)", in Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, Brian (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/38640

External linksEdit

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
New position
President of the National Union of Women Workers
Succeeded by
Mrs Alfred Booth