Scrapbook [of Cécile Matheson]

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This scrapbook consists of press cuttings from the regional and specialist press, including many articles written by Cécile Matheson, relating to the Birmingham Women’s Settlement and her other social welfare interests and activities.

Administrative / Biographical History

(Marie) Cécile Matheson (c.1870-1950) was educated privately and at Bedford College, London. She did not proceed to a degree, but studied English Language, Latin and Maths for two years, additionally taking French and Physics in her second year. She matriculated in Class II in 1892. Cécile worked as a teacher and secretary, moving to Birmingham and living at Selly Oak from 1904. She participated in club work and wrote ‘Women Work and Wages’ with Edward Cadbury and Clr. George Shann. In 1906 she took up a post at the Birmingham Women’s Settlement (Summer Lane) as joint warden (junior to Miss Allbright), becoming sole warden from 1910-1916. In this post she became well known and did much public speaking, leaving only after wartime conditions and staff shortages caused her health to fail. While at Birmingham, Cécile was a prominent member of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. In Aug 1911 she did a caravan tour in Shropshire, speaking on women’s suffrage for Common Cause. She was also a supporter of the temperance movement, serving on the Women’s Advisory Committee: Board of Liquor Control (1915). After leaving the Settlement Cécile was a member of the Departmental Committee on Old Age Pensions (1919) and the Cutlery Safeguarding Enquiry: Board of Trade (1925). She lectured on social economics for the Delegacies of Extra-Mural Studies of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London and undertook research and commissions in England, Europe, India and the USA for the Board of Education and various government and private enquiries. She was a member of the British Industrial Court and served on Trade Boards. Cécile Matheson published widely on women’s wages and employment, the teaching of domestic science, citizenship, Indian industry and social work and welfare. She was active in the Women’s Industrial Welfare Society, the London Council of Social Service and the National Women Citizen’s Association. Cécile Matheson was obviously very well known in her day and, unusually for a woman of her generation, featured in Who’s Who. On leaving Birmingham she said ‘I came here a theoretical suffragist and I leave here thinking it is one of the most important of pregnant and urgent reform problems of the country’. She died 28 Apr 1950.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Other Finding Aids

Fonds Description (1 folder only)

Geographical Names