Angela Burdett-Coutts, 1st Baroness Burdett-Coutts

Angela Burdett-Coutts, 1st Baroness Burdett-Coutts. Born on 21st April 1814, she was a famous and a well known philanthropist (people who promote and help others wishing for their welfare specially by donating money generously or in the form of a good cause) of the 19th century.

Family & Fortune of Angela Burdett-Coutts

She was the daughter of Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Baronet. A respectable politician and a reformist and Sophia Coutts who was the daughter of Thomas Coutts.  Through her family she met an astonishing range of leading figures of the day who became admiring friends, from Charles Dickens to Gladstone, Disraeli and Rajah Brooke of Sarawak. She belonged to a very rich family, when her grandfather died in 1822 he gave all of his fortune and wealth to his second wife Harriot Mellon who was also his former mistress, who at her time of death gave it all to Angela who at that time was 23 years old, and in exchange she had only but one condition that Angela would take up the name “Coutts” and that she did.


Burdett-Coutts was widely known as “the richest heiress in England”. She was a great collector of paintings, including many Old Masters. Among the contemporary paintings. After it she took a house for herself at the Stratton Street, off Piccadilly, with her former governess Hannah Meredith and they immediately started living there together after which she rejected many men that would come to marry her for her money as she had far more better uses for her wealth. Burdett-Coutts spent the majority of her wealth on scholarships, endowments, and a wide range of philanthropic causes. Very first among them was her founding in collaboration with Charles Dickens a place for women and girls who had gone towards an immoral way of living, which primarily included theft and prostitution they had named it Urania Cottage.    She poured out help in prodigious quantities to the poor in London’s East End.  She gave money for the building of churches in the London slums and was a patron of artists and actors. She was very famous in the royal society and was also a leading figure in the royal society in the cause and struggle to stop cruelty towards animals and gave to humanitarian causes in Turkey, the Balkans and Africa.

She never took sides in politics and usually stayed away from these kind of things which would involve politics but was actively interested in improving the condition of indigenous Africans, or the education and relief of the poor or suffering of people all around the world. Her generosity had no limitations like race nationality color or status she was always there to help people who needed it regardless of who they were or where they came from.  

Death of Angela Burdett-Coutts

During the life of Hannah brown her governess Angela never married Hannah passed away in 1878 three years after which at the age of 67 she married her 29-year-old secretary, the American-born William Lehman Ashmead Bartlett, who became MP for Westminster on 12 February 1881. Her new husband changed his surname to Burdett-Coutts.

Lady Burdett-Coutts died of acute bronchitis at her home on Stratton Street, Piccadilly. By the time of her death she had given more than £3 million to good causes. She was the last of the name Barony and the name got extinct with her death. She died in 1906 at age 92, was buried in Westminster Abbey on a service which was attended by Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, Pearly Kings and the East End.

2 thoughts on “Angela Burdett-Coutts”

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