Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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HUGHES , ELIZABETH PHILLIPS ( 1851 - 1925 ), educationalist .

Born 12 July 1851 at Carmarthen , daughter of John Hughes , surgeon , and Anne Hughes ( née Phillips ) . Her paternal grandfather was Hugh Hughes ( 1778 - 1855 ) , a famous preacher ; on her mother's side her descent was partly Jewish . To this admixture of races her brother, Hugh Price Hughes , one time president of the Wesleyan conference , attributed the liveliness of mind of himself and his sisters, who distinguished themselves in the professions [see under Phillips , Samuel Levi ].

After her schooling at Hope House , Taunton , and Cheltenham Ladies’ College , she taught for four years at Cheltenham before going up to Newnham College , Cambridge , in 1881 . There she studied moral sciences and was placed in class one of that Tripos in 1884 and in class two of the historical Tripos in 1885 . In the same year she was appointed the first principal of the Cambridge Training College for Women Teachers . This was a new venture and its great success was attributable in the main to her pioneering efforts. She retired to Barry in 1899 . In the following years she undertook lecture tours in Europe and America and for a period of six months held a chair at Tokio . During her retirement Miss Hughes continued to work for the higher education of women and was an active member of the Association for Promoting the Education of Girls in Wales . Her numerous articles and pamphlets include: ‘ A National Education and its Application to Wales ,’ ‘ The Education of the Majority ’ and ‘ The Training of Teachers ’ — a matter of the greatest concern to her. To quote her own words in an article ‘ The Educational Future of Wales ,’ ‘ I felt that the quickest, most effective way of improving education was to induce teachers to be trained, and to try and improve training .’ Her connection with the University of Wales was a long one; she was the only woman on the committee which drafted the original charter of the university. In 1920 the honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred on her by the University of Wales . She died 19 Dec. 1925 .


Mrs. Megan Lewis, M.A., Bangor / Guildford

Published date: 1959