|Activity||Principal founder of the Edinburgh School of Cookery (later Queen Margaret University), founder member of the Queen Victoria Jubilee Institute for Nurses. |
Daughter of Christian Edington and Harry Guthrie Wright, the manager of the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company. As a schoolgirl she attended extra-mural classes at the University of Edinburgh. She was a founder member of the Ladies Edinburgh Debating Society and treasurer of the Edinburgh Association for the University Education of Women. In 1875, along with Louisa Stevenson, she founded the Edinburgh School of Cookery, a forerunner of Queen Margaret's University. This school followed methods advocated by the National Union for Improving the Education of Women of All Classes. The school focussed on lectures in cookery and household health, primarily in Edinburgh but also on a guest basis around Britain. Similiar institutions were encouraged by Wright and Stevenson in Glasgow, Dundee and in England, including a branch in Manchester. She published an influential book called the School Cookery Book as a school primer, along with Sir Thomas Dyke Acland and two medical advisors.
The Edinburgh School of Cookery was established in 1891 in Atholl Crescent, with subsidised fees for lower income groups. Wright did not teach at the school, taking an organisational role.
She was a successful fund-raiser, and helped fund the Queen Victoria Jubilee Institute for Nurses in 1887, becoming treasurer of the Scottish Council.
Extract from the QVJIN Scottish Branch Minutes, 1895-1909 ref: QNI/B/1:
21 Mar 1907 Executive Committee Minutes
"Item 4: 2 The Chairman having spoken of the great loss the Institute had sustained by the death of the Hon. Secretary Miss Guthrie Wright, the Council adopted the following Minute:
The Council of the Scottish Branch of Queen Victoria's Jubilee Institute for Nurses wish to record in the Minutes of their first meeting since the lamented death of the late Miss Guthrie Wright their deep sense of the heavy loss the Institute has sustained.
"The first meeting of the Scottish Branch was held in the Boardroom of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on 13 August 1888. Eight were present under the Presidency of Lady Rosebery, and Miss Guthrie Wright was appointed Secretary. From that day up to the day of her lamented death Miss Guthrie Wright was the moving [?] spirit of the Institute. Her appointment ensured the success of the movement. Not only was she full of zeal and love for the cause of Nursing; she was an admirable woman of business. No labour was too hard, no detail too trivial. Looking back on those nineteen years, and watching the progress of the Institute from its small beginning of the Superintendent and one nurse, up to the present day, Miss Guthrie Wright seemed to man the whole machine.
"She was a true leader with great powers of organisation. Was money required, Miss Guthrie Wright begged for it and got it, or gave it. Were tact and womanly sympathy needed to smooth out friction - or information required in country districts - a visit from Miss Guthrie Wright solved the difficulties, a speech by her gave the information. Year after year, while she took an active part in the promotion of many other useful projects, her enthusiasm for the institute and her unstinted labours for its advancement never flagged. Her colleagues remember with what unselfish helpfulness she visited districts, lectured at public meetings […] To keep in touch with the Council of the Institute many a weary journey she took to London, attended the meetings of Council and often guided them aright regarding Scottish affairs.
"Miss Guthrie Wright's unfailing tact and good sense were recognised by all her fellow workers from the President, Princess Louise, down to the youngest Probationer Nurse. The loss both personal and official, caused by her death to her fellow members of council seems at present irreparable. They mourn the death of an invaluable colleague and a beloved friend."