Alice Ann Cornwell or Alice Whiteman or Alice Robinson (1 January 1852
– 7 January 1932) was a British goldmining industrialist and
newspaper proprietor. She made her fortune from gold and floated her
company on the London Stock Exchange. She was a confident business
person investing in several companies including owning the Sunday
Cornwell was born in
West Ham in 1852 to Jemima and George Cornwell.
She and her family emigrated to New Zealand when she was nine. Her
father was an engineer.
Her first marriage was with the much older John Whiteman. He was a
politician and publican. This marriage resulted in a legal separation
before she left for England, but it was not ended until Whiteman died.
Her fortune was made when she returned from England after education at
Royal Academy of Music
Royal Academy of Music to Australia. Her father was a successful
engineer who was then prospecting but he was not making a profit.
Cornwell studied his ground and convinced others that a major find lay
beneath his land. Shafts were created where she had indicated and gold
was reputedly found within 30 centimetres of where she had said it
In 1886 she returned to London as a reputed millionaire, although this
may have been an exaggeration. Despite not being able to enter
London's club's because of her gender she floated the "Midas Mine" on
the London Stock Exchange. Moreover she also created the British and
Australian Mining Trust and Investment Company. The purpose of this
company was to allow people to invest money directly in Australian
Cornwell bought the
Sunday Times in 1887 from Colonel George
FitzGeorge who an illegitimate member of the Royal Family. Her
purpose was promote her new company and it was a gift to her lover
Frederick Stannard (‘Phil’) Robinson. In 1888 her friend Fergus
Hume wrote a novel, "Madame Midas" about a "Mrs Villiers" which was
obviously based on Cornwell.
Cornwell sold the "Sunday Times" in 1893 to Frederick Beer, who
already owned Observer. Beer appointed his wife, Rachel Sassoon Beer,
Cornwell's estranged first husband died in 1893 and she married
Robinson in 1894.
Cornwell died in 1932 in Hove.
^ a b c d e Griffiths, D. (2004-09-23). Cornwell [other married names
Whiteman, Robinson], Alice Ann (1852–1932), gold-mining
industrialist and newspaper proprietor. Oxford Dictionary of National
Biography. Retrieved 9 Dec. 2017, see link
^ a b "Woman with the golden touch". 2017-01-27. Retrieved
^ Eilat Negev (6 September 2012). The First Lady of Fleet Street: The
Life, Fortune and Tragedy of Rachel Beer. Biteback Publishing.
pp. 126–. ISBN 978-1-84954-460-3.
^ Hobson, Harold, Knightley, Phillip and Russell, Leonard (1972). The
Pearl of Days. Hamish Hamilton. p. 52. ISBN 0 241 02266
5. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
^ Bush Advocate cited by earlyphotographers, Volume IX, Issue 729, 19