Ishbel Maria Aberdeen – England

Ishbel Maria Aberdeen – England (1857 – 1939), from the Marjoribanks of Inverness-shire, Scotland.


Ishbel Maria Hamilton-Gordon, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair, GBE (15 March 1857 –18 April 1939), was a Scottish author, philanthropist and an advocate of woman’s interests … (full text).

life and work.

She was the daughter of Dudley Coutts Majoribanks, son of Edward Majoribanks of Greenland, son of John Marjoribanks (1763-1833) who was the eldest son of Edward Marjoribanks (from Bordeaux, Edinburgh and Lees in the Borders) and Grizel Stewart. Dudley later on became Lord Tweedmouth and married Isabel Hogg whose Father, James Weir Hogg, was a Speaker of the House of Commons. Ishbel spent a happy childhood alternating between Brook House in the fashionable West End of London and at the highland deer forest of Guisachan (”Place of the Firs”) in Inverness-shire, with it’s wild birds, dogs, ponies. She had first met her future husband, John, while out riding in a London Park when she was fourteen; at eighteen, after her “coming out” at a ball presided by Queen Victoria, he became a favourite escort. She married John Campbell Gordon, seventh Earl of Aberdeen, in St. George’s, Hanover Square, on November 7,1877 in a service conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. During her years in Canada, Lady Aberdeen, wife of the Governor General, founded:

  • the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) in 1893,
  • the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) for Canada in 1897,
  • the May Courts of Canada, 1898.

… (full long text).


Ishbel Marjoribanks, Marchioness of Aberdeen, First President NCWC, 1893-1899, a common aim and a common work, ALTIOR (”Ever Higher”) – Above one of the original Commemorative medaillons issued by Lady Aberdeen in Montreal in 1898 … (Danielle Duval LeMyre, published on geocities).

She worked for women’s rights and social reforms in Britain.

Find about her on Google Book-search, on National Portrait Gallery, on wikipedia, and Google scholar-search.

Recognition: In 1894 she received the Freedom of Limerick; she received the Freedom of Edinburgh in 1928 and was invested as a GBE in 1931. The Lady Aberdeen Bridge’, which is the first bridge upstream to cross the Gatineau river, in Gatineau, was named in her honour. After falling through the ice at the confluence of the Gatineau and Ottawa Rivers, Lady Aberdeen was rescued by Gatineau locals. Out of gratitude she funded the construction of a church near the site of the accident and the Lady Aberdeen Bridge. Aberdeen Avenue in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was named after Lord and Lady Aberdeen who lived on Bay Street South between 1890-1898. They also presided over the opening of the Hamilton Public Library on September 16, 1890. (full text).

She is named (some exemples): in the Canadian Encyclopedia; in the McCord Museum; on pikle.demon; on; on the National Register of Archives … (etc.).

Ishbel Maria Marjoribanks was a memorable member of that branch of the family that had its centre in Lees, the family seat on the river Tweed. In a family of men who held high office in government and commerce, she won equal distinction for a life-long career of social service, particularly for her accomplishments in improving the lives of women …

… She had a happy childhood among her father’s art treasures in Brook House and the ponies, dogs and wild birds at Guisachan in the highlands. She worshipped her mother but kept a respectful distance from her father because of his frequent outbursts of temper. She had an older brother, Edward,[10] later the second Baron Tweedmouth, and an older sister, Mary, later the first Viscountess Ridley. Another brother, Stewart, died of scarlet fever while still a schoolboy.

With the help of the servants, she taught herself to read by age three and, by the time she was six, was exchanging letters regularly with her father. Her formal education was undertaken by tutors and, in her early years, by a Swiss governess, with whom she spoke French and German, never English.

While still quite young she had strong religious feelings and, at the age of 17, with her father’s reluctant permission, became a Sunday school teacher in the Quebec Chapel, Marble Arch. She was remarkably successful at instilling Christian precepts in more than a dozen somewhat unruly London boys, some of whom would follow her home to Brook House for tea after church … (full long biography).


Her story, an exhibition;

The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center;

Parks of Canada;


John Hamilton-Gordon, 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair.

Comments are closed.