Three short biographies by Helena Wojtczak:

Other notable women connected with Victorian Hastings or St Leonards - links to resources outside this website:

  • Hertha Ayrton scientist. Protegé of Barbara Bodichon.

  • Bessie Rayner Parkes Belloc, feminist, writer, poet.

  • Annie Wood Besant, social reformer. While living at Warrior Square she married Frank Besant at St Mary Magdalen, St Leonards, on 21st December 1867.

  • Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female medical graduate in the world, who lived for 30 years at Rock House, Exmouth Place, Hastings, and died there in 1910 aged 89. The house bears a plaque in her honour.

  • Clara Collett was a frequent visitor.

  • Mary Howitt (1799-1888), writer and poet, most famous for 'The Spider and the Fly'. Lived in Hastings in the 1840s-50s.

  • George Eliot (1819-1880), friend of Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, visited Hastings in May 1845 and St Leonards in 1846 and 1854.

  • Dr. Anna Kingsford (1846-1888) physician, social campaigner, dissident thesophist, vegetarian, anti-vivisectionist, psychic, Hemetic, editor of the Lady's Own Paper, and feminist. Lived in St Leonards.

  • Olive Schreiner, novelist and suffragist; stayed in St Leonards in 1884, where she joined the local branch of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.

  • Elizabeth Siddal, artist and model. Friend of Bodichon. Married Dante Gabriel Rossetti at St Clement's Church, Hastings.

Left - Annie Wood Besant           Right - Anna M McNeill

Adelaide Anne Procter (1825-1864), author and poet, most famous for 'The Lost Chord'.

Caroline Fry (Wilson), author and poet. Lived at London Road and Beech Cottages, d.1846.

Beatrice Harraden, novelist, at one time lived in Hastings.

Elizabeth Carte, mother of Richard D'Oyly Carte, lived in Hastings and died at 92 High Street on 24 January 1885.

Jane Welsh Carlyle (1801-1866), visited St Leonards from March to July 1864. Arrived with Frederick the Great to complete.

Anna M McNeill (?-1881), famous for her portrait by her son as 'Whistler's Mother'. She lived at 43 St Mary's Terrace and died there on 31 January 1881.

More links to other famous names (male & female) associated with Hastings.


Status: overview

Social class

Notable women

Barbara Bodichon

Hastings maps and photos

Suffragettes in Hastings

Suffragettes in Thanet

Marianne North

Elsie Bowerman


Marianne North

About the author