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The way we were

Extracts from memoirs and diaries, chosen by Ian Irvine

Philanthropy

In August 1837, Angela Burdett-Coutts inherited the fortune of her grandfather, Thomas Coutts, estimated at £1.8m. She devoted herself to philanthropy, conceiving the idea of Urania Cottage—a hostel where female petty criminals and former prostitutes could be trained in useful skills—with her friend Charles Dickens. In August 1847, the Duke of Wellington wrote her a warning:

“I have heard of the manner in which you dispose of your money, and indeed... I am astonished that you should have any left! You, like me, are supposed to be made of gold, and everybody supposes that it is only necessary to touch you to partake of the prize. I find that the parent of generosity is economy. Indeed it is impossible to be generous without it... Form no large establishments or engagements; in the position in which you are placed they will only embarrass you...”

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s May issue: Simon Taylor and Bronwen Maddox on why Hinkley Point C is an expensive gamble that might not pay off. Philip Collins examines Iain Duncan Smith’s tenure as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Lionel Shriver reveals why she stopped fighting being female. Alan Rusbridger responds to last month’s piece on the Guardian by Stephen Glover. Also in this issue: Nicholas Soames says there’s no such thing as "Project Fear” and Howard Davies reviews Melvyn King’s new book and suggests that we are vulnerable to another financial crisis. Plus Ruth Dudley Edwards examines the fading myths of the Easter Rising and Owen Hatherley suggests it’s time to look for a Plan B to solve London’s housing issues.
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