Anne Jemima Clough (20 January 182027 February 1892) was an early English
suffragist Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections and referendums (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to v ...
and a promoter of higher education for women. She was the first principal of Newnham College.


Clough was born at Liverpool,
Lancashire Lancashire ( , ; abbreviated Lancs) is the name of a Historic counties of England, historic county, Ceremonial County, ceremonial county, and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The boundaries of these three areas differ significa ...
, the daughter of cotton merchant James Butler Clough and Anne (née Perfect). James Butler Clough was a younger son of a landed gentry family that had been living at Plas Clough in
Denbighshire Denbighshire ( ; cy, Sir Ddinbych; ) is a county in the north-east of Wales. Its borders differ from the historic county of the same name. This part of Wales contains the country's oldest known evidence of habitation – Pontnewydd (Bontne ...
since 1567. Anne's brother was Arthur Hugh Clough, the poet and assistant to
Florence Nightingale Florence Nightingale (; 12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was an English social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, i ...
. When two years old she was taken with the rest of the family to Charleston, South Carolina. It was not till 1836 that she returned to
Britain Britain most often refers to: * The United Kingdom, a sovereign state in Europe comprising the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands * Great Britain, the largest island in the United Kin ...
. Anne's own education was entirely at home, as was common for middle and upper-class women of the time. She worked as a volunteer in a Liverpool
charity school Charity schools, sometimes called blue coat schools, or simply the Blue School, were significant in the history of education in England. They were built and maintained in various parishes by the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants to ...
and became determined to run a school of her own. When her father became bankrupt in 1841, she took the opportunity to set up a small day school. This enabled her to contribute financially, while fulfilling her interest in education. She subsequently worked at the Borough Road School and the Home and Colonial School Society. After her father's death, she moved to
Ambleside Ambleside is a town and former civil parish, now in the parish of Lakes, in Cumbria, in North West England. Historically in Westmorland, it marks the head (and sits on the east side of the northern headwater) of Windermere, England's largest ...
, setting up a school for local children and boarders, Eller How. On the death of her brother Arthur, she moved to Surrey, to support her sister-in-law Blanche Clough in bringing up their three small children. The youngest daughter, Blanche Athena Clough, would follow in her aunt's footsteps and herself become a notable educationalist. Keenly interested in the education of women, she made friends with
Emily Davies Sarah Emily Davies (22 April 1830 – 13 July 1921) was an English feminist and suffragist, and a pioneering campaigner for women's rights to university access. She is remembered above all as a co-founder and an early Mistress of Girton Colleg ...
, Barbara Bodichon, Frances Buss and others. She gave evidence to a Royal Commission on secondary schooling, based on her own teaching experience. After helping to found the North of England Council for Promoting the Higher Education of Women, she acted as its secretary from 1867 to 1870 and as its president from 1873 to 1874. Her scheme for peripatetic lecturers was the germ of the University Extension Movement.

The foundation of Newnham College

When the ‘Lectures for Ladies’ were set up in Cambridge in the 1870s, it became clear that women who lived at a distance would need accommodation.
Henry Sidgwick Henry Sidgwick (; 31 May 1838 – 28 August 1900) was an English utilitarian philosopher and economist. He was the Knightbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1883 until his death, and is best known in philo ...
invited Clough to take charge of the first hostel and its first five students, setting up in Regent Street, Cambridge, in 1871. The lectures and hostel swiftly became Newnham College, and Clough its first principal. The new college took a different approach to women's education from Girton College: where Girton focused on equality, Newnham focused on intellectual flourishing. Girton insisted women take all the same exams as men, where Newnham allowed women to skip the "Little-Go" exam of Latin, Greek and divinity and progress directly to studying their chosen subject. Similarly, while Girton's residence was a more surprising design, created by architect Alfred Waterhouse, Newnham Hall was designed to be more tranquil and domestic. A later biographer described Clough as having "inexhaustible good humour, plenty of common sense and fun, and an enviable ability to admit when she was wrong. These qualities made her students cherish her and enabled her to work well and creatively with her colleagues." Though she had little experience of administration, she oversaw the building of the new college and negotiations over leasing the land. Her personality, commitment and drive made her "a recognised leader in the education of women".

Death and legacy

She was cared for at the end of her life by her niece Blanche Athena Clough and her friend Edith Sharpley who was the classics lecturer. They were both present when she died at Cambridge on 27 February 1892. Two portraits of Clough are at Newnham College, one by Sir William Blake Richmond, the other by James Jebusa Shannon. Her grave is in Grantchester churchyard, near Cambridge. Her legacy is marked in Clough Hall and the Clough memorial gates at Newnham College, a stained glass window at
Liverpool Cathedral Liverpool Cathedral is the Cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool, built on St James's Mount in Liverpool, and the seat of the Bishop of Liverpool. It may be referred to as the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool (as recorded in t ...
, the Hope Street sculpture "A Case History" in Liverpool. Her birthplace in Liverpool is marked with a plaque, commemorating both Anne Jemima and her brother Arthur Hugh.
Edge Hill University Edge Hill University is a campus-based public university in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England, which opened in 1885 as Edge Hill College, the first non-denominational teacher training college for women in England, before admitting its first male stu ...
has a hall of residence called Clough in honour of her contribution to higher education and the history of education in
Lancashire Lancashire ( , ; abbreviated Lancs) is the name of a Historic counties of England, historic county, Ceremonial County, ceremonial county, and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The boundaries of these three areas differ significa ...



* * This cites ''Memoir of Anne Jemima Clough'', by Blanche Athena Clough (1897). * *

Further reading

* Blanche Athena Clough, ''Memoir of Anne Jemima Clough'', 1897.

External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Clough, Anne 1820 births 1892 deaths British suffragists British women's rights activists Principals of Newnham College, Cambridge Politicians from Liverpool Academics from Liverpool Women of the Victorian era