Beatrice Clugston (19 September 1827 – 5 June 1888) was born into a well-off family in Glasgow, the eldest of six children.
She never married and, like many Victorian middle-class women, she devoted herself to philanthropy. Her ill health when young possibly gave her a lifelong sympathy for those who were sick: this is certainly where she directed her attention, visiting patients at Glasgow Royal Infirmary where she set up a Dorcas Society in 1863 to provide clothing and small sums of money for those in need.
She had an amazing talent for fundraising and making connections in high places: for example, in 1871 she ran an event in the City Halls at which attendees included Princess Louise, the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, and the Duke and Duchess of Roxburgh. She contributed to institutions such as the Samaritan Society of the Western Infirmary and Glasgow's Sick Children's Hospital, as well as being instrumental in setting up new ones: the Glasgow Convalescent Home at Bothwell (1865), the West of Scotland Convalescent Seaside Home at Dunoon (1869), and the Broomhill Homes for Incurables at Kirkintilloch (1876).
Beatrice showed less interest in her own finances which by 1876 had declined to the point that a subscription was raised which provided £3,000 plus an annuity for her upkeep. Her health also continued to be poor, and she died from heart failure at the relatively young age of 60 in 1888.
The three homes with which Beatrice was associated survived well into the 20th century. The Broomhill site is now housing known as Beatrice Meadows, with Clugston Court the central street in the estate and a plaque and tree to commemorate her. The Dorcas Society continues to operate at the Royal Infirmary where Beatrice is also commemorated in a wall panel.
This blog is part of a Trailblazers collection, celebrating the lives of 10 women who we decided to name our bikes after! This is the ninth in our series of blogs introducing a high-level overview of the life stories of the women whom our fleet of bikes is named after. To find out about the other women, please click on Trailblazers: The 10 Women who inspired Gallus Pedals.
Many thanks to Anabel Marsh from Glasgow Women's Library for writing this post.
Anabel Marsh is a volunteer tour guide with Glasgow Women's Library (GWL). GWL now has six women's history walks, three longer trails, and one bike ride, all of which can be downloaded as self-guided tours from GWL's website. Guided walks take place during the summer months and can be booked via the library's events calendar.