Millicent Mackenzie

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Millicent Mackenzie
File:Millicent Mackenzie 1915.jpg
Mackenzie in 1915
Born Hettie Millicent Hughes
1863 (1863)
Bristol, England
Died 10 December 1942(1942-12-10) (aged 78–79)
Brockweir, England
Nationality British
Known for Feminist, educator
Movement suffragette
Spouse(s) John Stuart Mackenzie

Millicent Hughes Mackenzie (1863 in Bristol – 10 December 1942 in Brockweir) was a British professor of education at University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, the first female professor in Wales and the first appointed to a fully chartered university in the United Kingdom. She wrote on the philosophy of education, founded the Cardiff Suffragette branch, became the only woman Parliamentary Candidate in Wales for 1918, and was a key initiator of Steiner-Waldorf education in the United Kingdom.


Academic and political career

Hester Millicent Hughes was born in 1863 into the family of Walter William Hughes of Bristol. She went to school in the Bristol suburb of Clifton and later was sent for further schooling to Switzerland, after which she entered the University College, Bristol and the Cambridge Teacher Training College. She was normal mistress at the University College of South Wales & Monmouthshire from 1891 to 1904. This is where she met John Stuart Mackenzie, professor of philosophy at the University College, a Hegelian and author of a number of philosophical works and text books. The couple were married in 1898, and at her request the university allowed her to continue as normal mistress thereafter. When the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire opened their teacher training for female students, she was appointed to head it, the university being then just a few years old and having a welcoming and enlightened policy towards female students and staff. She made history through her appointment to associate professor in 1904 and to professor of education (women) in 1910, making her the first female professor in Wales and the first female professor appointed to a fully chartered university in the United Kingdom.[1][2][3] Millicent was appointed to Senate in 1909 (the first woman to be appointed to Cardiff's Senate), though the Senate Minutes record her attending and being involved in Senate Meetings going back to 25 October 1904.[4]

She played a key role in the establishment of the College School. This was a demonstration school founded by the university in which members of the Secondary Training Department for Women carried out their teaching practice, taught boys until the age of 10, who then went on to public school and girls until they were 18 or 19.[5]

She joined the women’s movement, co-founding the Cardiff and District Women’s Suffrage Society and standing as Labour Party candidate in the parliamentary elections of 1918, the only female candidate in the country.[6] In 1909 she published Hegel’s Educational Theory and Practice, her most important book. Besides this she published numerous other books and lectures on education.

“Much of her work focused on the methods for preparing teachers for working in schools across the country and advocated co-educational instruction. She researched Welsh and UK schools and also drew insight from the US and European education systems. In 1894, with co-author Amy Blanche Bramwell, they wrote the title Training of Teachers in the United States, a title that focused on the co-education in US teacher trainer schools. She also authored Moral Education: The Task of the Teacher (1909); Freedom in Education. An Inquiry into its Meaning, Value, and Condition (1905)”[7]

Meeting with Rudolf Steiner's education

In 1913 she became a member of the Theosophical Society and on 2 July 1914 joined the London branch of Harry Collison, which was devoted to studying the works of Rudolf Steiner, who had appointed Collison as his official translator into English.

In 1915 she and her husband went into early retirement from their positions at the university so as to travel and write. The Council Minutes, 1914-1915 record a meeting of the Council on 14 May 1915, accepting their resignations “with deep regret”.[8] It was not until after WWI, when travel had become possible again that she went, together with her husband, on two lecture tours, visiting India, Burma, Ceylon and Europe between 1920 and 1922, and Berkeley, California in 1923. In August 1921 the couple were present at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland to take part in the Summer Art Course that had been organised by Baron Arild Rosenkrantz for English participants. Here they met Rudolf Steiner for the first time, spoke to the people working at the Goetheanum and experienced the educational work being done at the first Waldorf school. Rudolf Steiner spoke highly of them and of the philosophical works they had written, in particular Hegel’s Educational Theory and Practice and Jack Mackenzie’s Elements of Constructive Philosophy.[9]

As a result of this conference, Mellicent arranged for a lecture cycle for British teachers to take place at Christmas 1921 by Rudolf Steiner and some of the Waldorf teachers. Around forty people responded to her invitation, traveling from England to Dornach, where Rudolf Steiner held the lecture cycle Soul Economy – Body, Soul and Spirit in Waldorf Education besides a varied supporting programme.

On her return to Britain, Millicent then initiated the educational conference in Stratford-on-Avon in April 1922,[10] was the founder and chairperson of the “Educational Union” whose purpose was to bring awareness of Rudolf Steiner’s educational ideas into English and American teacher’s organisations and directed the organisational group for the summer conference "Spiritual Values in Education and Social Life" in August 1922 in Oxford.[11] She organised the public lecture of Rudolf Steiner on education on 30 August 1924 in Essex Hall, London under the auspices of the Educational Union for the Realisation of Spiritual Values and gave the welcoming address. Through her efforts the founders of Steiner-Waldorf education in the United Kingdom were introduced to these ideas and built up the first schools.[9][12]


Jack Mackenzie, her husband, died in December 1935 in their home in the village of Brockweir near Chepstow in Gloucestershire. She edited his autobiographical notes and published them in 1936.[13] When the Brockweir town hall was built in 1937, she donated the money for the building and called it the Mackenzie Hall in honour of her husband John S Mackenzie.[14] Millicent Mackenzie died on 10 December 1942 in Brockweir.

Books published

  • Freedom In Education An Inquiry Into Its Meaning, Value And Conditions by H Millicent Mackenzie. Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (1905) ASIN B000KZGHCA
  • Hegel's Educational Theory and Practice by H. Millicent Hughes Mackenzie. S. Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd (1909) ASIN B00087QADG
  • Moral Education: The Training of the Teacher by Millicent MacKenzie 1909


  1. The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy Edited by A.C. Grayling, Naomi Goulder, and Andrew Pyle Continuum 2010 ISBN 9780199754694
  2. Timeline Cardiff University retrieved 2014.09.09
  3. Edith Morley was appointed in 1908 as Professor of English at what was then University College, Reading, which was a higher education institution but could not award its own degrees. Law, Cheryl (2004). "Morley, Edith Julia (1875–1964)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2011-02-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  4. [Minutes of the University of South Wales and Monmouthshire Senate (Ref: UCC/SN/M/4). Information provided by Cardiff University Institutional Archive,]
  5. [Minutes of the College School, Cardiff (Ref: CS/1). Information provided by Cardiff University Institutional Archive,]
  6. [ Milicent Mackenzie Local Suffragettes retrieved 2014.09.12]
  7. First Female Professor Appointed in the Largest Coal Port in the World, Post March 8, 2013 by Kelly Page for We are Cardiff retrieved 2014.09.09
  8. [Minutes of the University of South Wales and Monmouthshire Council (Ref: UCC/CL/Mn/12]. Information provided by Cardiff University Institutional Archive,]
  9. 9.0 9.1 Rudolf Steiner in Britain by Crispian Villeneuve. Temple Lodge Press 2009 ISBN 978-1-906999-03-2
  10. Paull, John (2013) Stratford-on-Avon: In the footsteps of Rudolf Steiner. Journal of Biodynamics Tasmania, 111 (Spring): 12–18.
  11. Paull, John (2011) Rudolf Steiner and the Oxford Conference: The Birth of Waldorf Education in Britain. European Journal of Educational Studies, 3(1): 53–66.
  12. Hester Millicent Mackenzie Biographische Dokumentation der Forschungsstelle Kulturimpuls retrieved 2014.09.12
  13. John Stuart Mackenzie. [An autobiography.] Edited by his wife, etc. With a chapter on the life and work of J. S. Mackenzie by W. Tudor Jones. Williams & Norgate, 1936
  14. History of the Mackenzie Hall, Brockwell Village Hall retrieved 2014.09.09