• Title
    Journal of Helen Gilpin
  • Reference
    MS VOL S 461
  • Date
    1 January 1884-9 August 1887
  • Scope and Content
    Journal, irregularly kept, by Helen Gilpin, while a missionary in Madagascar from 1 January 1884 to 9 August 1887. Includes printed invitation cards, poems and newscuttings.
  • Extent
    1 volume
  • Level of description
  • Creator
    • Gilpin, Helen, 1834-1907
      Helen Gilpin, youngest daughter of James (1780-1855) and Mary (born Sturge; 1789-1842) Gilpin of Bristol, was born there on 3 February 1834.(1) 1 of a family of 15, she grew up with a wide circle of family and other interests. She was educated partly at Brookfield School, Wigton, Cumbria. She taught in the family of John Parley Rutter at Mere, Wiltshire, and was later a teacher in the Girls’ School run by Friends in Kendal, Westmorland. In 1868 she felt a call to missionary work in Madagascar. She reached Antananarivo in June 1869 and soon started teaching in the Girls' School, Faravohitra, which had been started by Sarah Street. In February 1870 the school moved into a new building, with 166 girls aged from 5 to 40 years, and 9 teachers. Among other problems in running the school, she found the practice of early marriages a great hindrance, and her attempts to remedy the situation met with some success. In 1875 she returned to England on furlough and collected a large sum of money to improve the school buildings. In 1877 she returned to the school, being helped, after Sarah Street's departure the following year, first by Annie Pumphrey and later by Clara Herbert. It was about this time that she began to take Malagasy girls into her own home, a practice that later developed (after her second furlough, 1887-90) into a Home for Girls. In 1892 the Home moved into new buildings and its numbers doubled to 20 or 30. As well as her other activities she had time to take Bible classes with women 3 days a week, and also to prepare references for the Malagasy Bible, a work which had occupied her spare time for 16 years. She was recorded as a minister on 23 October 1888 by Shaftsbury and Sherborne Monthly Meeting.(2) In 1895 her health failed and she returned finally to England, making her home with her sister, Elizabeth (1822-1904), at Liverpool, Merseyside.(3) After her sister's death she moved in 1904 to Conway, North Wales. She died at Conway on 24 January 1907, aged 72 years.(4) ____________________ Principal source: ‘The Friend’, volume 47 (1907), p. 89, with portrait. The notice of her death is on p. 78. See also: Muriel F. Allen, ‘A girls' school in Madagascar’ (London, 1932), p. 4. 1. Bristol and Somerset Quarterly Meeting Digest Register of Births. Gives her date of birth as 2 March 1834. Her father is described as Woollendraper. Friends Service Council Personnel Records and the obituary in ‘The Friend’ alike give 3 February 1834. 2. List of Recorded Ministers 1861-1924 (in the Library Reading Room). 3. ‘The Friend’ obituary prints an account of how she quietened a meeting in Liverpool, Merseyside, which was being disrupted by unruly boys. 4. Digest Register of Deaths. She is described as spinster.
  • Normal location
  • Name
  • Subject