Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Clough, Anne Jemima

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CLOUGH, ANNE JEMIMA (1820–1892), first principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, the third child of James Butler Clough, a cotton merchant, and his wife Anne, daughter of John Perfect, was born at Liverpool on 20 Jan. 1820. Arthur Hugh Clough [q. v.], the poet, was her brother. In 1822 James Clough took his family to Charleston, South Carolina, where they remained for fourteen years. Anne, who during that period was solely educated by her mother, spent the summers of 1828 and 1831 in England. She has well described her childish experiences at Charleston in the 'Poems and Prose Remains' of her brother, Arthur Hugh Clough (cf. pp. 3–9). She returned to Liverpool in 1836, and resided there for the next sixteen years. Her intention was to become a writer, but she occupied herself mainly in teaching, taking classes at the Welsh national school founded by her father, at a Sunday school, and holding school on her own account at home for older girls. When her father failed in 1841 Anne, in order to help pay off some of the debts, started a regular school, which she continued until 1846. Her father died on 19 Oct. 1844. She found time for private study, although in addition to the school duties she had to help her mother in domestic work. Her brother had a high opinion of her capacity, and desired a wider sphere of action for her. His letters to her show deep interest in her work and aims (cf. Clough, Poems and Prose Remains). In 1849 she spent three months in London, and attended the Borough Road, and then the Home and Colonial School, to acquire something of the technical training necessary to teachers. In 1852 she removed to Ambleside, where she spent ten years. At first she collected round her a few pupils drawn from residents in the neighbourhood, among them being Miss Mary Arnold, now Mrs. Humphry Ward, but she soon determined to establish a regular school for the children of the farmers and tradespeople. She related her experiences in an article entitled 'Girls' Schools' in 'Macmillan's Magazine' (October 1866).

After the death of her mother in 1860, Miss Clough ardently desired to enlarge the scope of her life. The death of her brother Arthur at Florence in 1861 somewhat modified her plans, and in 1862 she gave up her school at Ambleside to Mrs. Fleming (the school still exists), and went to live with her brother's widow in order to help in the bringing up of her nephews and nieces. Her thoughts now turned to reforms in the education of women of the middle class, and she became acquainted with others, such as Miss Emily Davies, Madame Barbara Leigh Bodichon [q. v. Suppl.], and Miss Buss, who were working in the same direction. She was instrumental in founding the North of England council for promoting the higher education of women, and was its secretary from 1867, the year of its establishment, until 1870, and its president from 1873 to 1874, in which year it was dissolved. It led to the organisation of local lectures by the universities. The higher local examinations for women had been started in 1869, and in 1870 Henry Sidgwick [q. v. Suppl.] suggested that lectures should be given in Cambridge to assist the candidates. The plan was most successful, women coming long distances to attend the lectures. It was therefore determined to open a house of residence in Cambridge to accommodate the students, and Miss Clough was asked to be its head. She began work at a house in Regent Street, Cambridge, in October 1871 with five students, and out of that beginning was evolved Newnham College. In 1872 Miss Clough removed to the more convenient premises known as Merton Hall, but the number of students so increased that in 1874 a new house again became imperative. It was decided to build one; a sum of 10,000l. was subscribed by friends of women's education. Newnham Hall, the old hall of the present Newnham College, was opened in 1875. More room was, however, soon needed, and Newnham College was established on its present basis, under the principalship of Miss Clough, in 1880. As the college developed Miss Clough acquired the position of a recognised leader in the education of women, and many things now regarded as a matter of course are due to her initiative. In 1888 her strength began to show signs of failure; she died at Cambridge on 27 Feb. 1892, and was buried in Grantchester churchyard on 6 March.

Her strong personality, high aims, and lofty principles enabled her to overcome defects in her that might have jeopardised the success of her work. She was no organiser; her want of method, a very serious drawback, of which she was well aware, is to be attributed to lack of early training. She endeared herself to the students, and had an excellent influence on young women.

The portrait which hangs in the library of the college was subscribed for by the students, and painted by Sir W. B. Richmond in 1882. Another portrait which hangs in the college hall was subscribed for by friends and students, and painted by Mr. J. J. Shannon in 1890.

[A memoir of Anne Jemima Clough by her niece, Blanche Athena Clough, 1897.]

E. L.