Lady Hulse

As part of this year’s Salisbury History festival, you are being invited to vote on five women, all connected with Salisbury, to find your favourite. Five essays will be published to assist you in making your decision. To find out more about this years Salisbury History Festival, please visit their website –


Welcome to the forth of five essays on women who have offered a real service to Salisbury. Our thanks go to John Abbott who has provided the details for Lady Hulse. At the conclusion of the five, we will be giving details on how you can vote for your favourite – who will capture your imagination the most?

4. Lady Edith Maude Webster Levy-Lawson Hulse

A Great Lady in Deed and Word

Edith was born in 1866, the daughter of Sir Edward Levy-Lawson first Baron Burnham, the proprietor of the Daily Telegraph. In 1888, she married Sir Edward Henry Hulse (11 years MP for Salisbury) and hence begun her long association with the Breamore Estate. They had one son Edward Hamilton Westrow Hulse, who was killed in 1915 in WW1.

Despite the loss of her husband in 1903 and her son in 1915, Lady Hulse continued tirelessly to modernise the Breamore Estate. She also developed a keen interest in community politics, first as a member of Fordingbridge Council and later Salisbury City Council. She had a keen interest in the welfare, of the young and elderly, a Charity still exists in her name.

In 1927 Edith Hulse became Salisbury’s first woman Mayor, no doubt recognising her considerable public work, only one other city, Norwich, previously had a female Mayor.

There is no doubt that Lady Hulse was an outstanding woman in the community, building Hulse Hall at Breamore in memory of her husband, and acquiring ‘Hulse House’ in Mill Road, Salisbury, as a memorial to her son. The property was used for child welfare and maternity work and also served as headquarters of the Y.W.C.A.

In the 1920’s plans to build a new Hospital in the Butts Farm area of Salisbury were abandoned, instead the land was sold for housing, Hulse Road being named to recognise Edith Hulse’s involvement in the original idea.

Then, in 1924, Edith paid for a new Maternity and Child Welfare Clinic and Pathology laboratory, thus helping to keep the Infirmary in Fisherton Street.

Lady Hulse died on November 1st 1937 in the arms of Mr Cooper her butler following a heart attack. In Salisbury Cathedral her memorial simply says “Great Lady in Deed and Word”.

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