Born on the 19th
June,1848, to an affluent and religious middle class family, Catherine
Gurney was a woman who challenged the
social mores of the time which dictated that, 'a woman's place was in
the home'. She was the youngest daughter of Joseph Gurney of Tyndale
Lodge, Wimbledon, a member of the firm of W.B.Gurney, shorthand writers
to Parliament and grand-daughter of William B. Gurney who played a
leading part in the abolition of slavery.The first indication of her drive & initiative came when,
in the early 1870's, Catherine Gurney first began a
Bible Class at Wandsworth, she then went on to form the International Christian
Association in 1883
which was initially based at her home. This Association progressed and resulted in
the establishment of branches in many countries. A Police Institute
was subsequently opened in London.
next project in 1890 was a
Police Convalescent Seaside Home
Clarendon Villas, West Brighton and in the first year, over 100 Police
officers were cared for.
Catherine Gurney, on display at
The Police Treatment Centre, Harrogate.
need for this type of care soon dictated a fund raising exercise which
resulted in the
opening in 1893
Southern Police Convalescent Home & Orphanage,
Portland Road, Hove, caring for 457 officers and 5 children from a
Police family, in its first year of operation.
This was later
relocated to Sutton and then Redhill in 1895, where it became known as the
Southern Provincial Police School, later to be called The Southern Provincial
1897 whilst visiting Harrogate, Catherine Gurney negotiated the purchase
of St George's
College building and grounds of 12 acres, for the sum of 10,000 pounds. So began
the Northern Police Orphanage
(later called St George's House).
The first child was
admitted to the Orphanage in 1898 and, over the ensuing years,
buildings were added to accommodate the growing number of children being cared
Next to get Catherine Gurney's attention in 1901 was the building of the
being located on part of the original St George's 12 acres. This
opened in 1903 and continues to provide care for
members of the Police Force to this day,
under the name
Catherine Gurney was without doubt a remarkable woman, one who had the
character & drive to
plan & carry out a number of major projects, all with the common aim of
assisting members of
the Police Force and their families. She died on the 11th August, 1930 and
at her request was
interred on the 13th August, 1930 at All Saints Church
Cemetery, Harlow Hill, Harrogate, near to St George's and St Andrew's,
the two homes she had originated in Harrogate.
Photo, signed by Catherine Gurney.
Letter of acknowledgment dated August 1930.
Police Pall Bearers, representing the County,City & All Saints Church,Harlow Hill,Harrogate.
Borough Forces, at Miss Gurney's funeral, 1930.
original headstone, now relocated to St Andrew's.
Catherine Gurney's new headstone located at
her Rose Garden
gravesite in All Saints
Catherine Gurney's work is continued through
both The St George's Police Trust
(formed in 2006 after a merger between
the Northern Police Orphans Trust and the St George's Fund) which is based in Harrogate and
Fund for Police Orphans based in Worthing.
Income is derived from regular subscriptions from the Police Forces,
donations, legacies and investment income and being registered
charitable trusts, operate according to the aims of the respective
trust deeds, which is, to provide and distribute grants and assistance
to needy orphan children of the Police.
For further information contact:
St. George's Police Trust.- St. Andrew's,Harlow Moor Road, Harrogate,
North Yorkshire, HG2 0AD
The Gurney Fund for Police Orphans- 9 Bath Road, Worthing,
West Sussex, BN11 3NU
A brief look at some
of Catherine Gurney's Ancestors.
acknowledgement and thanks to Colin Salter, writer of the
material used in this article and provider of the family photographs
reproduced below. To read in greater depth about the Gurney - Salter
and other branches of the family visit the following website and view the many
and varied posts.
c 1636 - 1688 Thomas Gurney
Gurney's Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather.
information about Thomas Gurney is shrouded in the mists of time but it
probable that he was of the Gurney family of Norfolk, ancestors of
whom had come over from
Gournay in Normandy with William the Conqueror and fought at the
Battle of Hastings.
a Quaker and a contemporary of George Fox (1624 - 1691), the founder of
Society of Friends, as it was more formally known. More than that,
Thomas was at one time
travelling with Fox as the latter went about the country preaching
his disaffection with the
established Church of England. Reception was sometimes hostile,
sometimes even violent. In
Derby in 1650, Fox was imprisoned (not for the first time) for
blasphemy - and when in court he
commanded the judge to "tremble at the word of the Lord", the judge
mockingly described Fox and
his followers as "quakers" . The name stuck.
The following year Fox went to Lichfield with a party of Friends, a
party which must have included
Thomas Gurney, this is known because the family records tell of a
well worn pocket knife on the cover of which were engraved the initials "T.G." and the
inscription "Given to me by George Fox at Lichfield'.
Thomas Gurney, for all his companionship with George Fox, eventually
became a Baptist, a denomination which the next four
generations of his family would actively serve in a variety of offices
in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and London.
1705 - 1770
Gurney's Great, Great Grandfather.
Thomas Gurney was
the son of a Bedfordshire miller. Driven by his Baptist faith and a
belief in the
worth of knowledge, Thomas, at the age of nineteen, had not only
developed a strong interest in
founded a school, but also developed a shorthand system (by improving and
simplifying what was
at the time, the disused "Mason's Shorthand" method). The
would remain in use for two
It was the first system used in verbatim reporting of events, in
which it was proved to be capable
of extremely accurate record. Gurney Shorthand was the official
system of both the Old Bailey
(from 1750) and of both Houses of Parliament (from 1813) throughout
the 19th and early 20th
century, presided over by at least six generations of the Gurney
family and widely used - not
least by Charles Dickens who used it as a young reporter in the
House of Commons, and whose
firsthand experiences of learning shorthand were quoted in a
Radio 4 programme!
Shorthand notes written by Charles Dickens,
based on the Gurney method.
Thomas Gurney’s Brachygraphy
Or An Easy And Compendious System Of Shorthand
1733 - 1816 Martha Gurney
Gurney's Great, Great Aunt.
She was a remarkable woman, a bookseller and printer of whom her
biographer Timothy Whelan
writes, “No British woman played a more prominent part in raising the
consciousness of the English
people against the slave trade.” Her pamphlet An Address to the People
of Great Britain on the
Propriety of Abstaining from West India Sugar and Rum (written by
William Fox in 1791) sold more
than 200,000 copies in
and was the best selling pamphlet of the eighteenth
century. With public debate on the topic at its height, the publication
ran to about 30 impressions
or reprints, and drew 20 further pamphlets responding to its contents
either for or against.
published fourteen such anti-slavery pamphlets and another 25
transcriptions of state
trials and other proceedings – one of the benefits of being the sister of
Joseph Gurney, official
shorthand writer to the Old Bailey and the House of Commons, who had
privileged access to such
events. Joseph was also able to bring first hand knowledge of the
debate over slavery which
raged in parliament in 1791 and 1792.
Martha Gurney's willingness to nail her colours so
explicitly to the mast was brave – the pamphlets all carried her name as
publisher when many of their authors remained anonymous (including Fox
on that 1791 Address).
Trading in slaves became illegal in Britain in 1807, having slaves
however did not until the Slavery Abolition Act was passed in 1833 A
landmark of humanity which Martha Gurney can take some small credit for
having helped initiate the change.
An Address to the People
Medallion of the logo of the Society for Effecting
Report on Remarkable Trials (including
Great Britain, on the Consumption the Abolition of
Slavery, produced in 1787 by the those of
32 prisoners "capitally
of West India produce written
manufacturer and abolitionist Josiah Wedgewood.
convicted") Published by Joseph and
by William Fox, published by
Martha Gurney in 1791.
1744 - 1814 Rebecca (Brodie)
of Catherine Gurney
Born in Nottinghamshire to
Paisley parents, Rebecca Brodie Gurney, as was observed by her son
William Brodie Gurney, did not have the gift of large resources but, she
knew how to set others to
work and made the most of what she had.
Around 1787 Rebecca prevailed on her neighbours in
Walworth, South London, with greater
resources than hers to set up a Girl’s Charity School. She played a very
active part in the running
of it, and also in the organisation of a Maternity Society which she set
up there. Thirty years
after her death in 1814, William was still meeting people whose lives had
been touched and
changed by her activity.
The girls’ schoolteacher was encouraged to extend the school’s
activities to include religious
instruction every Sunday, and he was offered a penny for each child
attending on a Sunday, up
to a maximum of thirty pupils. Unsurprisingly attendance at the Sunday
school ran at a steady
thirty week after week after week, netting the teacher a regular extra
income of half a crown.
When, as was expected of a pious young man, William Gurney went along to
Sunday in 1795, he found a less than spiritual reason for the full
classroom. If ever there was a
shortfall, the teacher sent his son out on the streets to round up extra
children with the promise that they wouldn’t be kept long – just long
enough to have their heads counted by the chapel treasurer.
Brodie Gurney took over the running of the Sunday school and his success
there led to the founding of the Sunday School Union eight years later.
William’s son in law William Augustus Salter met his future wife,
Gurney’s daughter Emma, while volunteering at a Sunday school run on
Gurney's lines. Salter would go on to found two schools himself, and in
1860 Emma, without doubt inspired by her grandmother’s Maternity
Society, set up the first ever Mother's Meeting in Leamington Spa.
1768 - 1845 Sir
Gurney's Great Uncle.
The end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 was followed by
cycles of famine and unemployment, and
a groundswell of radical feeling that the nation’s wealth should be
distributed more equitably. This
climaxed in 1819 with a huge rally at St Peter’s Field in
which was brutally dispersed
by sabre-wielding cavalrymen. Up to 600 people were injured or
killed. It became known as the
After the massacre six new laws were enacted, designed to restrict
any sort of assembly which
might lead to public disorder. The Six Acts were perceived by the
public as repressive, which only
served to fuel anger and discontent amongst radical groups.
One such group resolved that the
only solution was the assassination of the Prime Minister
and his entire cabinet.
The group was given false information about a dinner to be held in
London on 23rd February, 1820
at which the Prime Minister and his Cabinet were supposed to
attend. As the would be
assassins gathered in an attic in Cato St to plan their attack, all
John Gurney was appointed the counsel for the prosecution
of two of the
conspirators at their trial, Richard Tidd and William Davidson.
He was made King’s Counsel
in 1816, perhaps in part as a result of having performed well as an
assistant to counsel in the prosecution of John Bellingham, the assassin
of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, eight years
earlier (for more on this story, see William Brodie Gurney article
Tidd was a failed shoemaker and Davidson a failed cabinet maker.
Davidson was a Jamaican who’d studied Law in
and Maths in Aberdeen.
He accused the Court of racial prejudice – more or
less, “Is it ‘cos I is black?” But the fact that Davidson had been in
Cato Street, and had earlier taken a blunderbuss out of pawn in
preparation for the planned murders, rather counted against him. All
eleven conspirators were convicted, and such was the outrage of the
Establishment at their crimes that they were sentenced to be hung, drawn
and quartered, a rather medievally brutal version of the death penalty.
In the end some of the
guilty had their sentences commuted to transportation, and the rest were
merely hung, on 1st May, 1820 at Highgate Prison.
John Gurney’s successful prosecution of the case made his
name. In 1832 he was knighted and appointed a Baron of the Exchequer.
The government used the trials to defend the introduction two months
earlier of the Six Acts. But the Observer newspaper defied the
government order not to report the proceedings of the trial before the
sentencing. And in
the whole sequence of events led directly to the establishment in 1821
of a new liberal newspaper, the Manchester Guardian.
1777 - 1855
William Brodie Gurney
Catherine Gurney and Grandson of Thomas Gurney.
William Brodie Gurney was the younger son of Joseph Gurney
(1744–1815), shorthand writer, who
died at Walworth, Surrey, in 1815, by a daughter of William Brodie of
Mansfield. He was the
(1705–1770), who created the Gurney shorthand system, or
Brachygraphy, and brother of
Sir John Gurney
on 24 December 1777, he was taught by Mr. Burnside at
in 1787, and afterwards by a Mr. Freeman. He received adult baptism at
Maze Pond Chapel,
on 1 August 1796. Adopting the profession of his father
and his grandfather, he
commenced practice as a
writer in 1803, and between that date and 1844 he took
down in shorthand many of the most important
cases, a number of which were printed as volumes from
his notes. In pursuit of
his calling he frequently visited
and many parts of
He reported the
in 1806, the proceedings against the
Duke of York
in 1809, the trials
in 1814 and of
Thistlewood in 1820,
and the proceedings against
In 1802, in conjunction with his father, he was
appointed to take notes of evidence before the
committees of the
Houses of Lords
and in May 1813 he was formally appointed shorthand
writer to the
his emolument being two
a day for attendance, and one shilling a folio for the
transcript of his notes.
He is mentioned as a famous shorthand writer in
canto i. st. clxxxix.
joined with his friend, Joseph Fox, in 1795 and opened a
Sunday school at Walworth, of which he in the following
year became the secretary. In 1801 he commenced the Maze
Pond Sunday school
and here he introduced
the Scottish method of
In 1812, on the establishment of the Westminster
auxiliary of the
British and Foreign Bible Society,
he was elected a member of the first committee, and soon
after became secretary. In connection with the baptist
denomination he was treasurer of Stepney College from
1828, and of their foreign missions from 1835. Like his
father he was warmly interested in the
rebuilding chapels in
and sending additional ministers there. He was a liberal
contributor and frequently received baptist missionaries
into his own house.
The year 1812 is also well remembered in
for the Tchaikovsky overture of the same name, written in 1882 to mark
the seventieth anniversary of Napoleon’s humiliating retreat from
But it is also the date of an event unique in British political history,
the assassination of a British Prime Minister.
On the 11th May 1812, William
Brodie Gurney, official
shorthand writer to the House of Commons, found himself in a committee
room recording evidence being given to a government inquiry. He later wrote in
Mr Perceval … was entering the Lobby when he was shot by
Bellingham. I shall never forget
the appalling scene. A shot was heard, and one or two members near me
had just said, “What is that? ” when Sir Charles Burrell
rushed into the room, exclaiming, “He is shot! He is shot!” Every one
cried out, “Who is shot?” “Perceval.” Every one immediately rushed to
the door. … I saw the corpse of Mr Perceval on the table in the
Speaker’s room, and then attended in the House to take the evidence of
the doorkeeper of the House of Commons, who saw the deed committed.
Having shot Perceval, John Bellingham quietly sat
down in the lobby and waited to be arrested. His
grievance had been the failure of the British government either to
intervene when he was being held in a Siberian prison for four years or
to compensate him for those years.
His trial began on 13th May. During the
proceedings in the Old Bailey, also taken down by W.B. Gurney, the court
would have preferred to assassinate the British Ambassador to
but had settled for the Prime Minister as the “representative of his
judge, Sir James Mayfield, found Bellingham guilty, the defendant was
hung in public a week to the day after the assassination. A public
subscription for his widow and family raised more money than he could
ever have hoped for in compensation.
on 25 March 1855, and was buried in the family vault at
West Norwood Cemetery.
1780 - 1845 Elizabeth Fry
Gurney's fourth cousin
Elizabeth (Betsy) Gurney was born in Gurney Court, off Magdalen
St, Norwich, Norfolk, England
to a Quaker family. Her family home as a child was Earlham Hall.
Her father, John Gurney, was a partner in Gurney's bank. Her mother,
Catherine, was a part of
the Barclay family who were founders of Barclays Bank. Her mother died
when Elizabeth was only
twelve years old. As one of the oldest girls in the family, Elizabeth was
partly responsible for the
care and training of the younger children, including her brother Joseph
John Gurney, a
philanthropist. One of her sisters was Louisa Gurney Hoare (1784 - 1836),
a writer on education.
Elizabeth Fry nee Gurney was an
English prison reformer, social reformer and, as a Quaker, a
Christian philanthropist. The conditions she saw when she visited Newgate
prison horrified her.
The women's section was overcrowded with women and children, some of
which had not
received a fair trial. They did their own cooking and washing in the
small cells in which they slept
on straw. She became the major driving force behind new
legislation to make the
treatment of prisoners more humane.
1804 - 1878
Russell Gurney, QC, MP.
Catherine Gurney's first
cousin, once removed.
Obituary Right Hon. Russell Gurney.
A telegram from London announces the death of Right Hon. Russell Gurney,
M.P., Q.C.. who in
1871 acted as one of the Commissioners appointed under article 12 of the
Treaty of Washington.
Mr Gurney was the son of the late Sir John Gurney, a Baron of the
Exchequer, and was born in
Norsewood, Surrey in 1804.
He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, was called to the Bar at
the Inner Temple in
1828, made a Queen's Counsel in 1845, and appointed Recorder of London in
1856. This is one of
the most important and most lucrative positions open to the legal
profession and is one of the
very few public offices that does not exclude the holder from Parliament.
In the general
election of 1865 Mr Gurney first came forward as a candidate for
Parliament. He offered himself to the electors of Southampton, the
principal continental seaport
on the south coast, and was elected by a large majority. Apart from great
popularity as Recorder
of London, he had large interests in the neighbourhood and at the
election in 1868 he was again returned at the head of the poll. In politics Mr Gurney called himself a
Liberal-Conservative, but was a strong adherent of the Conservative Party in all questions
affecting the interests of the Established Church. In 1874 he introduced
in the House of Commons the Public Worship Regulation bill, which had
been originated in the House of Lords by the Archbishop of Canterbury
and York. The bill passed the House of Commons by a small majority and
would very possibly have been defeated altogether but for his able
advocacy of it.
In 1866, shortly after he had been returned to Parliament, Mr Gurney was
appointed one of the Commissioners to investigate the Jamaica
disturbances, his associates being Sir Henry Storks, then Governor of
Malta and Mr J.B. Maule, Recorder of Leeds. At the time of the
appointment great indignation was felt in England at the conduct of the
Governor of Jamaica, Mr Eyre, who was charged with having, at the
commencement of the disturbances, suspended martial law on the island,
and allowed an indiscriminate slaughter of the blacks. The Commissioners
commenced their labours at Spanish Town, the capital city of Jamaica on
25th February, 1866, and sat for 48 days, during which several hundred
witnesses were examined, including Gov. Eyre and his principal officers.
The report presented by the Commissioners to Parliament showed that
during the disturbances 489 persons were put to death either by hanging
or shooting, 1000 cottages of the peasantry burned down by the soldiers
and 600 persons flogged, many of whom were women. The conclusions
arrived at were, briefly, that praise was due to Gov. Eyre for the
skill, promptness and vigour which he manifested during the early stages
of the insurrection; that the naval and military operations were prompt
and judicious, but that martial law was continued longer than necessary;
that the punishment inflicted was excessive; that the punishment of
death was unnecessarily frequent, and in some cases positively
The Liberal Party was dissatisfied with this report and a committee
formed for the purpose of prosecuting Gov. Eyre, the specific charge
being the murder of Mr Gordon, who the Governor ordered to be shot for
his complicity in the outbreak at Morant Bay. The ground of the charge
was the Commissioners' report that there was not sufficient evidence of
At the same time the, Liberal Government were not slow to appreciate the
patience and marked ability with which Mr Gurney had conducted the
investigation, and the same year he was sworn in as Privy Councilor.
In 1871 Mr Gurney was
chosen by the Government to settle the legal details of the Treaty of
Washington, and came to this country (USA) for that purpose. Afterward
he always expressed high admiration for the United States and his
pleasure that an amicable settlement of the differences with England had
been arrived at.
Mr Gurney was a keen
politician, a fluent speaker, and at the time of his death, one of the
highest legal authorities in Great Britain.
New York Times, published
1st June, 1878.
A Sad Accident
A news item from the
Suez Mail, relayed in New Zealand’s Southland Times on 25th
A melancholy accident has occurred on the Nile. While Mr
Russell Gurney, and three daughters
of the Rev J.H. Gurney, were on the
river, a squall capsized the boat, and all the ladies were
Divers are seeking to recover the bodies.
The New York Sunday Courier carried a fuller version of the story (from
the London Times) in
its 30th January edition, 1876.
Mr Russell Gurney
had started on his Nile journey first, leaving the rest of the party,
of his nephew and nieces, to follow him in a second boat named the Flora.
It was usual, because of sandbanks and shallows, for this type of boat, a
dahabeeah, to moor
at night, but, in order to lose no time the reis (captain) pressed on
The Flora was under full sail – that big lateen sail, twice as big as the
boat itself, which makes
a dahabeeah look like a great swan upon the water. As she rounded the
point, a sudden squall
took her, and before the sheet could be let go, she capsized in the
The ladies in their cabins, most of the crew, the reis himself, were all
lost in the deep, rapid
stream, and only one passenger and the dragoman were able to reach the
1804 - 1879 Joseph
Joseph Gurney followed his father and grandfather in the office of
Official Shorthand writer to the
Houses of Parliament, using the Gurney shorthand system invented by his
The Gurneys were Non-Conformists by faith. Baptists (and
other Christian churches not aligned
with the Church of England) were emerging in the nineteenth century from
the shadows of
intolerance and marginalisation, driven by radical religious zeal and a
passionate belief in
Disenfranchised, they had a hunger for god and knowledge which the
had rather lost sight of over the centuries.
Joseph managed to
combine his zeal for both heaven and learning through his fifty years of
membership of the Religious Tract Society, an organisation founded in
1799 and committed to
spreading the Word of God in print, particularly to children, women and
The Lord's Prayer
for Little Children, published by the Religious Tract Society, 1870.
Joseph Gurney joined the Tract Society in 1829, became a Trustee and later
treasurer. With inspired innovation guided by the Society's core ethos, he
produced the Pocket
Paragraph Bible which was
small enough to fit into one's pocket.
Buoyed by the success of the Pocket Paragraph, Joseph Gurney next enlisted
the help of linguistic
and biblical experts, who laboured for ten years with Joseph Gurney on the
new project, based on
the classic King James Version.
It was published in sections between 1850 and 1860, when the first
complete edition of the
Annotated Paragraph Bible appeared.
His next big project was to dispense with explanatory notes and instead
update the text itself,
with a new translation. With the assistance of eminent Greek and Hebrew
scholars of the day, he
published the Revised English Bible in 1877, eight years before the Church
of England's officially
sanctioned Revised Standard Version. Joseph died on 12th August,1879, just
two weeks after the
death of his brother-in-law and long time friend, William Augustus Salter.
Salter's son William Henry Gurney Salter succeeded Joseph in the post of
Parliamentary Shorthand Writer.
1812 - 1871
Mary Anne Gurney
Gurney was born on the
18th May, 1812 at
St. Clement Danes, London,
She was the sixth child and second daughter of William and Ann. Much
loved she was showered
with both attention and affection.
By coincidence she was born on the same day that John Bellingham was
hanged for the murder of
the Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, a case in which Mary Anne's father
William Brodie Gurney
was much involved in at the time.
Children of Mary
Anne Gurney and
Marion Caroline Jameson
William Gurney Jameson
Florence E. Jameson
Horace E. Jameson
Hampden Gurney Jameson
Mary Anne Jameson nee Gurney died in July 1871
at Wandsworth, Surrey, England.
1815 - 1893
Emma Gurney was the
daughter of William Brodie Gurney, a man who was a passionate Baptist
educationalist. After Emma's mother died in 1828, her father William
played the role of patriarch to
his eight surviving children and sixty two grandchildren, the Christmas
parties held at the Gurney
home in South London being legendary.
The connection between the Gurney and Salter families came about through
the marriage in 1836
between Emma and William Salter. They had met through their voluntary
work as teachers at their
local Baptist Sunday school in Denmark Hill, South London and it was
there that William Salter felt
the calling to train for the Baptist ministry.
He studied at Stepney Baptist College, whose treasurer was his future
William Salter was selected as minister of Henrietta Street Baptist
Church in London's Covent
Garden and on 19th October 1836, a fortnight after his ordination, he and
Emma married and over
the ensuing years produced seven children.
William, with Emma beside him worked hard within his city parish but, as
London was not a healthy
place he became ill and was obliged to move to Lower Baptist House,
Amersham, as Minister.
Emma's beloved father, William Brodie Gurney, died on 25th March, 1855
aged 77. Emma's grief was immeasurable and as a result her health
suffered, forcing her husband William to resign from his Amersham
commitments to look after her.
In 1858 they moved to Leamington Spa where William had found a permanent
post but, after two years he resigned and with the support of some fifty
parishioners bought land in Clarendon Street, where they built a new
A school for infants and
girls was established in the Public Rooms on Windsor Street; and a night
school for boys was held in the Tachbrook Street Missionary Rooms.
William taught Scripture of course; their daughters Anne, Emma and Maria
all assisted, teaching songs, reading and arithmetic; and in 1861, Emma
Gurney Salter started up a regular Mothers’ Meeting, the first of its
kind in the town.
Clarendon Street Chapel
(capacity 400) held its first service on 22nd June 1863 and
Clarendon Street British School opened three weeks later. The
congregation was large enough to have paid off all the new building’s
debts by the end of the year; and the school, officially licensed for 91
children, often attracted as many as 150. After the years of adversity,
the establishment of the Clarendon Street church was an enormous
achievement by both William and Emma. They remained there to nurture its
development for the rest of William’s life.
1836 - 1917 Mary
Gurney's half sister
Mary GURNEY b. 1836, d. 1917; the author
of “Are We to Have Education for Our Middle Class
Girls? Or, The History of Camden Collegiate Schools” (1872) and “The
Establishment of Girls' Public
Middle-Class Schools”, article in Englishwoman's Review (1872); 12 Mar
1872 also saw opening of
Sheffield High School, prompted by a Feb 1872 meeting in Cutlers Hall,
Sheffield, to promote
education for girls, attended by Mary, Lady Stanley of Aldeley, Maria
Georgina Grey nee Shirreff
(wife of William Grey who was a nephew of Earl Grey), and her sister
Emily Shirreff – the four also
the founders of many of the 26 schools now in the Girls’ Day School Trust
group, originally the
Girls Public Day School Company founded at a public meeting in the Albert
Hall, London in June
The two Shirreff sisters were the prime motivators in the formation of
these schools strongly
supported by Mary Gurney and Henrietta Stanley.
Mary Gurney devoted herself for 45 years from 1872 till her death in 1917
to the daily business
and the weekly meetings of the schools she had helped to originate. Her
benefaction did not end
with her life because characteristically after helping schools and
scholars financially all of her life
£500 for a scholarship fund, to the school Trust.
Mary was an excellent horsewoman and even in old age drove a dog-cart
through the streets of London. She was an admirable
linguist and published her own translations from French, German, Italian
and Spanish literature. Mary was also extremely musical
and loved foreign travel, often starting her travels at a continental
music festival and sharing with Henrietta Stanley a special devotion to
Italy. At home Mary Gurney gave lessons to her young step-sisters,
amongst whom would have been Catherine Gurney. She was a natural
teacher, with a brilliant, lively imagination and in later life one of
her sisters remembered weeping miserably when these lessons were brought
to and end.
c !840 Anne
Eldest daughter of the Rev. William Augustus Salter
Catherine Gurney's first cousin.
helped her father run the Chapel and school he formed in Clarendon St,
She never married and spent her whole life in the service of
her parents. Anne and two of her
sisters, Maria and Emma, spent time teaching at the school.
By the end of 1863 the school was regularly attracting around
150 pupils, however, after the
death of the Rev. Salter the Clarendon St School struggled
and was finally closed down around
Maria & Emma were well enough provided for by their father in his will
and it is thought
that they spent their time in useful charitable work and
enjoying the genteel pastime of hand
painting beautiful china cups and saucers, some of which have
been passed on to later
generations of the family.
1847 - 1888
grandson of Sir John Gurney, nephew of Russell Gurney.
Gurney's second cousin
Edmund Gurney was an
intellectual, philosopher, a frustrated musician, a too-sensitive
student, a bored lawyer, a gullable sceptic. In short he was a
complicated, intelligent man prone
to depression and addicted to the chloroform which relieved his
Edmund was the son of a
Unitarian minister but Darwinian science had undermined his Christian
faith. His search for a greater meaning and value in mundane
existence led him to devote the last
fifteen years of his life to experiments and research in hypnotic
states, telepathy and
hallucinations. In 1882 he was a founder member of Frederick Myers’
new Society for Psychical
published works included “The Power of Sound” (1880), an essay on the
music; and “Tertium Quid” (1887), which might loosely be translated
as “The Third Way”, an
argument for open-minded discussion, ideas developed from more than
one aspect, and the
existence of a third state between mental and physical, between god
a clever and energetic researcher. It is astonishing and tragic
therefore that he should have entrusted the execution of his experiments
in hypnotism to a theatrical producer by the name of George Albert
Smith. Smith, it emerged in Spring 1888, had been using stage effects
and techniques to falsify phenomena, which undermined all of Edmund
Edmund was a broken man. His rising reputation as a man
of science was dashed on the rocks of theatrical illusion. In June that
year he was found dead in a hotel bed in
a chloroform pad still held to his nose. The coroner passed a verdict of
accidental death, although suicide seems a clear possibility.
1872 - 1927 Charles
Frederick Gurney Masterman
Gurney's first cousin once removed.
(grandson of Thomas Gurney) had literary aspirations and had been the
literary review Granta while at Cambridge in the 1890's, he went on to
become the literary editor of
the Daily News in the early 1900's.published several impassioned books
about the state of the
country, notably 1909's Condition of England.
He served as a Member of Parliament from 1906 and, because he was unable
to find a safe
Liberal seat, was voted in and out of Parliament on a regular basis.
At the outbreak of World War I he was serving as Financial Secretary to
the Treasury, but with a
background in journalism he was appointed as head of the new War
Charles' first move was to recruit Britain's most talented writers to the
war cause, including
H.G.Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and John Buchan.
Under Masterman's direction, over two million books in seventeen
languages were published in the
first two years of the war, almost entirely without the readers being
aware that they were
sponsored by the British Government.
Another initiative he introduced was that of the concept of the War
Artist and this proved to be so
successful that in the last two years of the war he sent more than ninety
artists to make a visual
record of the war. Among the artists employed were Stanley Spencer,
Paul Nash and Augustus John.
To learn more, visit
read the well written and detailed stories of all of the above,
along with many others
connected to the
Gurney - Salter families.
Catherine Gurney plaque
in remembrance of Catherine Gurney was unveiled at the Police
Treatment Centre (St Andrew's), Harlow Moor Road, Harrogate, on Sunday
April 22nd, 2012.
plaque recognises not only Catherine Gurney but also the Police
Treatment Centre and St George’s House, Northern Police Orphanage.
The Catherine Gurney
The official unveiling
The unveiling event was
attended by Les Ellington - Mayor of Harrogate; Mark Botham - Vice
Chairman of the St George’s Police Trust and PTC; Michael Baxter C.E.O.
Police Treatment Centre; Henry Pankhurst - Chairman of Harrogate Civic
Society; Andrew Jones, MP
(Harrogate); Malcolm Neeson - Historian and columnist for Harrogate
Advertiser and of course the St George's old boys/girls and friends, attending the
coffee morning. The unveiling was followed by, a short talk about
Catherine Gurney and also an opportunity to tour the Police Treatment