The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
The Martindale Congregational Hall and Institute      Horsted Keynes  
Historical records

1903HistoryThe Martindale Congregational Hall and Institute

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 (1947-1934) who, together, inherited the paper company in 1888 and transformed it into the largest and most productive world paper company. Sir Albert Spicer became a Baronet in 1906 and served as a Liberal Party M.P. from 1892 to 1918.

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. 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 where Louisa became instrumental in establishing the Women's Liberal Association in 1891, the Women's Co-operative Movement, and a Women's dispensary (later called the New Sussex Hospital for Women). She also worked with her brother Albert Spicer, 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 nee Wolstenholme. 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. She worked with the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.

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

See also


1907Congregational Hall & InstituteCongregational Hall & Institute, Horsted Keynes photographed by A.H. Homewood, Burgess HillLouisa Martindale [Spicer]Private collection

1926Congregational ChurchCongregational Church, Horsted KeynesLouisa Martindale [Spicer]Private collection

c 1930Congregational HallCongregational Hall, Horsted Keynes photographed by H.H.Camburn for Mrs SparksLouisa Martindale [Spicer]Private collection

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