Papers of Lady Helen Nutting

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of press cuttings concerning marriage in the UK (1961-1968); correspondence, press cuttings, articles and official publications on marriage law and the status of women in various countries (1938-1967); correspondence, parliamentary papers and press cuttings on divorce law reform (1960-1969); copy of report on Homosexual Offences and prostitution (1957).

Administrative / Biographical History

Lady Helen Nutting (1890-1973) was born Helen Ogilvy in 1890, the daughter of the sixth Earl of Airlie. In 1909 she married the Hon. Clement Bertram Ogilvy Mitford-Freeman DSO 10th Hussars, who was killed in action in 1915. (He was a son of the first Baron Redesdale). In 1918 she married Lt-Col. Henry Courtney Brocklehurst, 10th Hussars. The marriage was troubled and they divorced in 1931. He was later killed in action in Burma 1942. In 1933 she finally married Lt-Col. Harold Bligh Nutting. She had, by this time, become involved with issues concerning women's status and rights, especially economic equality between husband and wife. She became a member of the Married Women's Association in 1945 and was appointed its deputy Chair in 1947. In 1952 certain members of the Married Women's Association opposed the President's draft evidence to the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce. The President (Helena Normanton), Chair (Doreen Gorsky), Deputy Chair (Nutting) and the Hon. Secretary (Evelyn Hamilton) left the Association. They went on to occupy identical positions in a new organisation called the Council of Married Women. Gorsky resigned as Chair in 1953 due to her new appointment at the BBC and Lady Nutting became Chair until its dissolution. Through the 1960s the Council encountered financial difficulties and the organisation's work largely devolved upon Lady Nutting alone. The organisation was wound up in 1969. She died in Dec 1973.

Arrangement

Arranged as they were originally deposited: LHN1; LHN2

Conditions Governing Access

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

Acquisition Information

In 1971-1972 Lady Helen deposited her papers relating to the Married Women's Association with the Fawcett Library (7LHN/01-03). On 10 Sep 1974 (after her death in Dec 1973) the Executor Branch of Coutts Bank deposited the official records of the Council of Married Women that were with the Library (7LHN/04-07). These had been held at her flat at 50 Carlisle Mansions. The Secretary, Mrs Evelyn Hamilton had resigned in 1969 and Lady Helen had carried on the Council virtually alone.

Other Finding Aids

Fawcett Library Catalogue

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds the papers of the Council of Married Women (5CMW) and of the Married Women's Association (5MWA)