Lady Henry Somerset - Victoria Embankment Gardens, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.673 W 000° 06.754
30U E 700356 N 5710629
Quick Description: This memorial, complete with statue, is situated within the Victoria Embankment Gardens that are close east of Temple tube station. The bronze plaque is mounted to a granite block plinth that has a statue of a young giral on top of it.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/4/2012 8:53:00 AM
Waymark Code: WMF76Z
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 4

Long Description:

The plaque has the inscription:

From children of
the Loyal Temperance Legion
in memory of
work done for the temperance cause by
Lady Henry Somerset
the President
National British Womens Temperance Assoc
incorporated June 1896
I was thirsty and ye gave me drink

The statue is of a young girl holding a bowl in front of her. The statue is life-size and made from bronze. There is also a drinking bowl carved into the base of the plinth for use by dogs and other pets and animals.

The Victorian Web [visit link] tells us about the memorial:

"Figure on a Drinking Fountain

George Edward Wade (1853-1933)


Bronze, on a high rocky base including water pipes and a low-level basin

Victoria Embankment Gardens, London SW1

The sculpture crowns a drinking fountain, while, touchingly, the girl is offering a bowl of her own, sometimes described as a birdbath. It is charming piece. The child's neatly pulled back hair, her lowered gaze and her serious facial expression, and her neatly fastened bodice are all beautifully executed, and there is a fluidity in her stance and hands that chimes with the New Sculpture of the time. The statue has had to be replaced since vandals sawed it off at the feet in 1970; its replacement is surely a tribute to the sculptor as well as to Lady Somerset herself."

The Essortment website [visit link] gives a biography of Lady Somerset:

"Lady Henry Somerset was a nineteenth century English philanthropist and temperance leader. A guide to her life and her part in the movement.

Lady Henry Somerset was born as Isabel Cocks in 1851, the first child of John Somers Cocks, third Earl of Somer. Her father was a nobleman in every way. For some years he was Lord-in-waiting to the Queen, spending the time at Windsor, Osborne, and Balmoral. Being a man of artistic and literary tastes, he resigned his position to devote himself to his studies, yet his intimate acquaintance with the Queen gave his daughter many advantages.

As a young woman Isabel was very beautiful. She was presented at court at nineteen and married at the age of twenty-two to Lord Henry Somerset, second son of the Duke of Beaufort. The marriage was arranged and while Isabel was an heiress to estates, manor houses, and London property, Somerset, as the second son, was penniless. The marriage was not a success and Isabel became a very independent woman. She was separated from her husband, who allegedly abused her. She left the Church of England and attached herself to the Methodists.

Lady Somerset owned a vast estate at Eastnor, fifteen miles in length, containing twenty-five thousand acres. Her house, which was a castle, was three miles from the lodge gate in Eastnor Park. In London she owned property where one hundred and twenty-five thousand people lived. She devoted much of her time and income to the welfare of the people of England. She began by studying the causes of poverty and crime, and found the liquor traffic at the bottom of it all. Being a woman of deeds as well as words, she took the total abstinence pledge, induced some of her tenants to do the same, and so started a temperance society. She visited the homes of her tenants, gave Bible readings in the kitchens, and gathered the mothers at her castle to discuss with them the training of their children.

Her philanthropic work soon spread beyond her own estates and call came for her to speak and work in behalf of temperance far and near. She went among the miners of South Wales and held meetings for days on end in tents, halls, and in the pits during the dinner hours. Hers seemed to the poor miners as the form and voice of an angel.

She became president of the British Woman's Temperance Association in 1890, and many attributed her sympathy with the outcasts of society due to her ostracism from society after her marriage failed. By 1891 Isabel had found acceptance in British reform circles.

Isabel visited America to attend the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union. At that time she met Frances Willard, with whom she became fast friends and associates in the temperance movement. Lady Somerset took Frances Willard back with her to England for a much needed rest.

Lady Henry Somerset gave her life in service for her fellow man. Hers might have been a life of ease and selfish idleness, yet she chose to give herself untiringly to the betterment of her fellow beings."

Website with more information on either the memorial or the person(s) it is dedicated to: [Web Link]

Location: Victoria Embankment Gardens

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