Sue Young Histories

The Martindale and Spicer Family and Homeopathy

September 12, 2008

The Martindale family were a homeopathic family and their lives are a testament to their humanity. Their parents, the Spicer family, were also enthusiastic homeopathic advocates (Hilda Martindale, Some Victorian Portraits and Others, (Books for Libraries Press, 1948)).

Hilda Martindale was an entusiastic advocate of homeopathy, as were her parents Louisa and William Martindale and were early converts to homeopathy and brought all of their children up to use homeopathy.

Her grandfather James Spicer and his wife Louisa were early converts and ardent homeopaths, as they were strongly disapproving of the drastic treatments meted out by allopaths. James Spicer was a major sponsor of the Homeopathic Convalescent Home in Eastbourne,

Hilda Martindale’s first memory of attending a doctor was of a homeopathic doctor.

Her grandfather James Spicer insisted on using homeopathic vetinary care for their animals. Her uncle was Albert Spicer. Another of Hilda Martindale’s aunts Ellen Spicer, was married to a grandson of of Samuel Hahnemann. Dr. Hahnemann was a busy homeopath who worked in Highbury, North London.

Hilda Martindale recalls seeing busts of Samuel Hahnemann in chemist shops, advertising homeopathic remedies, and of the homeopathic prescriptions she was given as a child.

Hilda Martindale 1875

Hilda Martindale was created a CBE in 1935 for her stirling work resulting in the admission of women into the Diplomatic and Consular Services. On her retirement in 1938, Martindale became the first woman on the Council of the Dr. Bernado’s Homes, and Chairperson of The Almshouses Association.

Hilda Martindale was a civil servant for thirty seven years and rarely had a day off sick. She always tried to consult a woman physician, in those early days, they were hard to come by in Ireland.

Hilda Martindale was born a posthumous child in 1875, six months after her mother was widowed. Along with her elder sister Louisa she was brought into her mother’s political and social interests and was exposed at an early age to lectures by Josephine Elizabeth Butler, Annie Wood Besant, and Jane Cobden who was the first woman to serve on the London County Council.

The sisters met leading supporters of the Women’s Cause and of Liberalism and were taken abroad to Europe, from time to time missing a term’s schooling.

Following her sister to the Brighton High School when the family moved to 2 Lancaster Road, Preston, Brighton. Hilda also followed Louisa to the Royal Holloway College in Egham 1893 -1895 going on in 1897 to Bedford College to study Hygiene and Sanitary Science which involved visits to Poor Law Institutions and investigating the treatment of Pauper Children in the care of the state.

After the family trip around the world in 1900, in 1901 she was interviewed by Adelaide Anderson the Principal Lady Inspector of Factories at the Home Office and was offered a job as one of six Lady Inspectors.

The work involved visiting factories, and industrial workshops which employed women and children and ascertaining that the laws on their conditions of employment were upheld by employers.

Permitted length of hours of employment were frequently ignored, statutory meal breaks curtailed, the law against Sunday Working often abused and it was the job of the Lady Inspector to make routine visits

  • often after complaints from the women - and to prosecute offending employers.

In 1912 Hilda was promoted to Senior Lady Inspector and became involved with women workers in the potteries of the Midlands who suffered greatly from lead poisoning acquired from from processes in making china and earthenware.

The Lady Inspectors also reported on Industrial Injuries sustained by women and gave evidence at Inquests and during the World War I they were involved with the safety of women workers who took up heavy industrial labour.

In 1921 the men’s and women’s sides of the Factory Inspectorate were merged and Hilda became Superintending Inspector for the Southern Division (with a male deputy) and in 1925 was promoted to one of three Deputy Chief Inspectors.

In 1933 she moved into the Administrative Civil Service and eventually obtained the most prestigious post of Director of Women Establishments at HM Treasury. With responsibility for 77,00 women civil servants, Hilda Martindale enjoyed her office near Downing Street with its paneled walls and blue silk carpet, and the invitations to Royal Garden Parties where she represented the women.

She retired in 1937 but continued to serve on many Trade Boards and Educational Councils, as an Adviser to the Government, lecturing at the University, and writing. She died in 1957.

Hilda Martindale (1875-1952) became one of Britain’s first women factory inspectors. In 1903 she wrote an influential report on lead poisoning in brick works. This was followed by an investigation into women outworkers in Ireland.

By 1914 she was a Senior Lady Inspector and played an important role in dealing with the difficulties involved in the substitution of women for men in industry.

In 1933 Hilda Martindale joined HM Treasury and became one of the first women to reach the higher levels of the Civil Service. As a member of the Whitley Council Committee on Women’s Question, she argued strongly for equal pay and the right of women to choose whether or not to leave their occupation when they got married.

After retiring in 1937, Hilda wrote several books including Women Servants of the State: 1870-1938, A History of Women in the Civil Service, Some Victorian Portraits and a book on her family, One Generation to Another.

The Hilda Martindale Educational Trust is still operating to offer grants nationally to women over 21 and women pursuing a profession or career which will benefit the community and for which vocational training is required. The Hilda Martindale Scholarship still offers financial assistance to women for MSc Courses.

Hilda Martindale’s portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

Louisa Martindale 1839 - 1914 mother of Hilda Martindale and sister of Albert Spicer, was the eldest daughter of James Spicer 1807 - 1888 and Louisa Edwards, was born in 1839.

James Spicer, the owner a large wholesale paper business, and Louisa, were committed Congregationalists, and brought up their ten children to believe in religious and moral reform.

After leaving school Louisa involved herself in charity work and helped form a Mutual Improvement Society and a Congregationalist Sunday School. She also began to take an interest in the newly emerging women’s movement.

In 1871 Louisa married William Martindale, a widower with four young children. In the next four years Louisa had two children of her own, Louisa (born 1873) and Hilda (born 1875).

After the death of her husband Louisa moved to Lewes in Sussex. Louisa Martindale had recently read a book by Mary Wollstonecraft called A Vindication of the Rights of Women. Louisa agreed with Mary Wollstonecraft that girls should have the same educational opportunities as boys.

However, this was very difficult, as there were few schools in the country that provided a good academic education for girls. At first she tried to start her own school for girls in Lewes, but she experienced so much opposition from the people in the town she decided to abandon the project.

In 1885 she moved to Brighton so that her two daughters might attend the Brighton High School for Girls. Once she had settled in Brighton, Louisa began to play an active role in local politics. She was a prominent member of Brighton’s Women’s Co-operative Guild and wrote several pamphlets on the movement.

Louisa also helped start a Brighton branch of the Suffrage Society and with the assistance of Marie Corbett helped form a woman’s suffrage group within the Liberal Federation.

Louisa’s home in Brighton became an important centre of the women’s movement in Sussex and it was here that Margaret Bondfield, then a young shop girl, had her first chance to develop her political ideas.

Although Louisa Martindale had many friends in the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) she remained a loyal supporter of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).

Louisa set up a dispensary for women in Brighton and with the help of her two daughters, Louisa and Hilda and two other feminists in Brighton, Elizabeth Robins and Octavia Wilberforce, she was able raise the funds for the building of the New Sussex Hospital for Women in Brighton.

Louisa Martindale died in 1914. Louisa’s two daughters both played important roles in feminist campaigns.

From Louisa Martindale [née Spicer], Louisa (1839–1914) was born on 25th June 1839 at 9 York Place, City Road, London, the eldest child of James and Louisa Spicer, who were committed Congregationalists.

James Spicer was the 4th son of John Edward Spicer who founded Spicer Papers Ltd in 1796. James and Louisa Spicer had 10 children including James Spicer (1846- ?) and Sir Albert Spicer (1847-1934) who, together, inherited the paper company in 1888 and transformed it into the largest and most productive world paper company…

On 2nd May 1871 Louisa Spicer married a 37 year old widower and father of four, William Martindale, a merchant. Their marriage ended early when he died in 1874 and Louisa was left a widow with two small daughters, Louisa born on 30th Oct 1872 and Hilda born 12th Dec 1875 after her father had died. Mary, the third daughter, had died in infancy, also, in 1874.

The Martindales moved from Leytonstone to Penzance, to Germany, to Switzerland, to Lewes, and finally to Brighton …

She also worked with her brother Albert Spicer for the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Women’s Suffrage Society, the German church, and she became a leader in promoting women’s rights corresponding with Elizabeth Elmy.

Louisa’s home in Brighton had become an important centre of the women’s movement in Sussex and she became President of the Brighton Women’s Liberal Association.

In 1903 Louisa moved to Cheeleys in Horsted Keynes and built a Congregational church and Institute there, later to be known as the Martindale Centre.

She was a strong supporter of the suffragette movement but believed that the aims should be achieved by non militant means…

On 15th March 1914, Louisa succumbed to pneumonia and died at her home at Cheeleys. She is buried at St. Giles Church in Horsted Keynes. Her two daughters carried forward her work in furthering women’s rights - Louisa Martindale (1872-1966) as a gynaecologist and Hilda Martindale (1874-1952) in the Civil Service.

Louisa Martindale 1873 - 1966 was born destined for a glittering career and knew it from an early age. Her mother’s first child she had always understood that she should study medicine and become a Doctor when she grew up.

The family move from Lewes to Brighton was brought about not only for the health of all the Martindale stepchildren but so that Louisa and her sister Hilda could attend Brighton High School, part of the Girls Public Day School Trust.

They moved to a large house 2, Lancaster Road Preston, and when she was 17 Louisa went sent to the Royal Holloway College in Egham; two years later entering the London School of Medicine for Women. Louisa gained her M.B (LOND.) in 1899 and then her B.S (LOND.) shortly afterwards and in 1900 began work as an assistant to Mary Murdoch who had a busy practice in Hull.

A long trip around the world with her mother and sister followed when Louisa studied at first hand hospitals in India, Australia, New Zealand, Honolulu and the USA.

In 1906 Louisa gained her M.D in London and returned to Brighton to put up her brass plate at 10 Marlborough Place Brighton near the Pavilion. She was appointed Doctor to The Brighton High School and for Roedean School and was asked personally to become physician to the Misses Lawrence.

In 1907 Dr Martindale joined the Visiting Medical Officer staff at the Lewes Road Dispensary for Women and Children. In 1911 the Dispensary (now called the Lady Chichester Hospital and Dispensary) moved to 4-8 Ditchling Road and included a small Medical and Surgical Hospital (as opposed to the 101 Roundhill Crescent Hospital which was for Nervous Diseases). Later this was renamed the New Sussex Hospital for Women and moved to Windlesham House, Windlesham Road, Hove in 1921 where she became Senior Surgeon and Physician.

In 1915 during WW1 she served at the Scottish Women’s Hospital at the Abbey of Royaumont as a locum doctor for a short time. Dr Martindale became interested in the use of X-rays to cure cancer and installed an X-ray apparatus at the New Sussex Hospital and set about treating certain cases of fibroids and breast cancer; her work at the New Sussex Hospital specialised in this treatment.

She moved her practice to 11 Adelaide Crescent in Hove in 1919 but in 1921 decided to sell up and move to London, although she remained Senior Surgeon at the New Sussex Hospital and continued to serve in Brighton as a Justice of the Peace.

In the following years her career took on an international trajectory with the World Medical Association and the Medical Women’s International Federation, travelling and lecturing on the treatment of cancer with radiation. (Homeopath Emile Herman Grubbe was the first person to use radiation treatment on a cancer patient when he discovered fractionated radiotherapy. Grubbe was also the first to use lead as protection against x rays).

In 1931 Dr Martindale was awarded the C.B.E and during the (2nd) War continued her work as a surgeon, eventually retiring in 1947.

In her early days in Brighton Louisa Martindale had met Ismay Fitzgerald, and, in her own words “… I invited her to stay for a fortnight, with the result that she stayed 35 years.”

Of her own life she also says “I have had my full share of love and happiness.”

Dr Martindale died in 1966 in London.

Of interest:

Albert Spicer, 1st Baronet 1847 – 1934 uncle of Hilda and Louisa Martindale and brother of Louise Martindale, was an English businessman and Liberal Party politician.

From He was born in Brixton, London, the son of James Spicer of Alton, Hampshire 1807 - 1888, a wealthy paper merchant and a well known congregationalist, and Louisa Edwards 1813 - 1892, daughter of Evan Edwards and Mary Ann Johnson.

He was the sixth child in a family of twelve, with three brothers and six sisters, he was the second son, after his brother James (great grandfather of the Labour MP Harriet Harman). (His sister Ellen Spicer married a grandson of Samuel Hahnemann).

When James Spicer Senior died in 1888, Albert inherited the paper company with his brother James, transforming it into the largest and most productive paper company in the world.

On the sixth of March 1879, he married Jessie Stewart Dykes, daughter of David Dykes and his wife Janet Buxton. They had eleven children, three boys and eight girls: Albert, Marion, Bertha, Grace, Stewart Dykes, Janet, Lancelot, Gwendoline Elaine, Eva, Olga and Ursula.

He was created a Baronet in 1906, and served as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Monmouth Boroughs from 1892 to 1900, and for Hackney Central from 1906 to 1918. He was a J.P. for Essex and was appointed as a Privy Councillor in 1912.

He died on 20 December 1934 in 24 Palace Road, Bayswater, London, and was cremated in Golders Green Crematorium on 21 December 1934. His wife had predeceased him on the twenty-first of that year.

His title was inherited by his first son Albert, then, on his death in 1966, Stewart Dykes inherited the title. The paper trade was taken over by his son Lancelot, who became a D.S.O.

James Spicer and Sons (From Graces Guide) of 50 Upper Thames Street, London, EC4. Factories at Red Cross Street, London, SE1 and at Brimsdown, Middlesex and Manchester.

Sir Albert Spicer, first baronet (1847–1934), paper merchant and wholesale stationer, was born on 16 March at Clapham, Surrey, the second of four sons and sixth of ten children of James Spicer (1807–1888), a wholesale stationer of Woodford Green, Essex, and his wife, Louisa.

He was educated at Mill Hill School and was then sent to Heidelberg where he learned to speak German fluently.

Albert Spicer returned to England and shortly afterwards his grandfather, John Edward Spicer, died leaving his stationer’s business at 182 New Bridge Street, London, to his three sons. They fell out, however, and James started another paper merchant firm, James Spicer and Sons, at 50 Upper Thames Street, London.

His two brothers, meanwhile, continued the existing business in New Bridge Street under the name Spicer Brothers. Both branches of the Spicer family were influential Congregationalists. On James Spicer’s side they were linked to the Unwins, the publishing family, through the marriage of two of his daughters, one of whom, Elizabeth, became mother of Stanley Unwin.

Albert Spicer became the dynamic figure in James Spicer and Sons. With just eight employees the firm tapped new markets for printing and writing paper by acting as an intermediary between the paper manufacturers on one side and retailers and consuming organizations on the other.

The company developed a regional branch house system, moved swiftly when new markets (such as school boards or county councils) appeared, and vigorously sought foreign markets, mostly in the British empire, Albert Spicer himself making overseas tours.

Albert Spicer married Jessie Stewart Dykes 1857–1934; they had three sons and eight daughters.

Albert Spicer and his brother Evan Spicer 1849–1937 strengthened their competitive position by increasing the capital investment in their London facilities, rebuilding the Upper Thames Street premises, and in 1886 acquiring an envelope factory in Southwark.

In 1910, the partnership was converted into a private company, James Spicer and Sons Ltd, with an authorized capital of £450,000.

In 1913, it continued to build up its British and empire distribution network so that it had warehouses in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol, Melbourne, and Durban, and offices in Belfast, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Wellington (New Zealand), Cape Town, and Paris.

Post-WWI. The slump after the First World War increased the pressures on specialist wholesalers and dealers. James Spicer and Sons protected their position by reuniting with their cousins.

1922 Advert as Wholesale Manufacturing Stationers: Envelopes; Note Papers; Compendiums; Account Books; Loose Leaf Ledgers; Ivory Boards; Paste Boards; Ivory, Fancy and Commercial Cards; Post Cards; Index Cards and Tags. Paper Embossers. (Stand Nos. L.47 and L.58)

1922 The two Spicer firms merged with the formation of Spicers Ltd with an authorized and issued capital of £1.15 million. It owned Eynsford Mills in Kent and the Sawston Mills, Cambridgeshire; two factories in Southwark; and a new factory at Brimsdown, Middlesex.

Albert Spicer remained chairman of the new company for one year before retiring from business in 1923.

In London’s business community Albert Spicer was a considerable figure. He was president of the London Chamber of Commerce from 1907 to 1910, and in 1909 visited Sydney as president of the Chambers of Commerce of the Empire.

For ten years, from 1907, he sat on the commercial intelligence advisory committee of the Board of Trade. During the First World War he was a member of the royal commission on paper supplies.

Albert Spicer died on 20 December 1934, at his home, 24 Palace Court, Bayswater, London, his wife having died before him, in May 1934.


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