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Helen Bosanquet

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Name  Helen Bosanquet

Died  April 7, 1926
Helen Bosanquet Citation Jose Harris Helen Bosanquet Oxford Dictionar Flickr
Books  The Strength of the People: A Study in Social Economics

2014 vwa health and safety awards finalist helen bosanquet

Helen Bosanquet, née Dendy (10 February 1860 – 7 April 1926) was an English social theorist and social reformer.



Helen Dendy was born in Manchester in 1860 to the Reverend John Dendy and his wife Sarah Beard (1831–1922), eldest daughter of John Relly Beard. She was one of nine children. Mary Dendy was an elder sister and her brother was the biologist Arthur Dendy (1865–1925).

Helen and her sisters were educated at home by a governess. In 1886, at the age of twenty-six, she went to Newnham College, Cambridge to study moral sciences. She obtained a first class degree in 1889 and appears to have had academic ambitions. However, she failed to get any academic position .

Having moved to London, she joined the Charity Organisation Society (COS), a body committed to rationalizing London's huge collection of private charities. She became organiser and district secretary of the society's Shoreditch branch. She was also active in the London Ethical Society, where she met the philosopher Bernard Bosanquet (1848–1923), whom she married on 13 December 1895 . In addition to an active public career as a theorist and publicist for the COS, she worked as translator of German philosophy and sociology, and as a collaborator with her husband.

In 1902 Bosanquet had a much publicised exchange of views with Seebohm Rowntree in which she questioned his findings about the extent and the causes of poverty in York. She was appointed a member of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws in 1905, where she defended the role of private charities over public welfare programmes. She was a major influence on the Majority report (Poor Law), which was published in 1909, which arose out of the Commission. Another member of the Commission was social reformer, Beatrice Webb and the two were often in disagreement. Webb wanted to abolish the Poor Laws and have state-run social services, while Bosanquest wanted to keep some aspects of the Poor Laws.

Bosanquet also played a key role in the development of social work in Britain, through her suggestion that social workers needed formal education as well as professional skills. She influenced the syllabus of the COS School of Sociology (founded 1903), which in 1912 became the Social Science Department of the London School of Economics.

Her influential English translation of Christoph von Sigwart's Logic appeared in 1895.

Following the death of Bernard Bosanquet in 1923, Helen arranged for the manuscript of Three Chapters on the Nature of Mind to be published. Her biography of her husband was published in 1924. She died in Golders Green, London in 1925, having suffered with ill health for some years.


  • Helen Bosanquet, "The Name and the House,” The Family. London: MacMillan, 1906.
  • Aspects of the Social Problem (1895)
  • Rich and Poor (1896)
  • The Standard of Life and Other Studies (1898)
  • The Strength of the People (1902)
  • The Poor Law Report of 1909 : A Summary Explaining the Defects of the Present System and the Principal Recommendations of the Commission, so far as Relates to England and Wales (1909)
  • Bernard Bosanquet : A Short Account of His Life (1924)
  • References

    Helen Bosanquet Wikipedia

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