Philanthropy is in
Coutts history of philanthropy began three centuries ago. With one of the most pioneering philanthropists at the heart of our history, it's no wonder we are so passionate about furthering the causes that matter to our clients. From the thriving Coutts Foundation through to the work we undertake to enable global philanthropy, it's clear that the legacy of Angela Burdett-Coutts is very much alive today.
As the granddaughter of Thomas Coutts, Angela Burdett-Coutts inherited a 50% share of the bank. Forbidden by 19th-century social convention from being involved in business, she channelled her formidable energies into philanthropy. Created Baroness in 1871 by Queen Victoria, Burdett-Coutts was the first woman to be ennobled in recognition of her charitable accomplishments and was widely known as the ‘Queen of the Poor’ for the work she did in London. Charles Dickens, a client of Coutts, was her chaplain for some time and she supported many of his campaigns for social reform.
Burdett-Coutts' most renowned philanthropic work was in east London, where she poured money into redevelopment, particularly in Bethnal Green. As well as building homes for the poor, she was concerned with the supply of fresh water to deprived parts of London, and paid £7,000 to install a drinking fountain in Victoria Park, Hackney. Her philanthropy was as diverse as it was generous. She gave financial support to the wives of soldiers serving in the Crimea, supplied vital equipment to Florence Nightingale to improve nursing hygiene, aided the wounded of the Zulu Wars and supported army hospitals in South Africa.