St Margaret’s School in Liverpool, or St Margaret’s Church of England Academy to give it its correct title nowadays, has been in existence for 139 years. One of its major benefactors was Gertrude Langton, the daughter of a leading Liverpool financier
Gertrude was born in 1835. Her father was Joseph Langton, a former manager of the local branch of the Bank of England, who was appointed the Bank of Liverpool’s first manager when it opened in Water Street in 1831. She grew up in 12 Abercromby Square and in her late teens moved to Paddington in London where she became a teacher in a private ladies school.
On returning to Liverpool after her father’s death in 1855, Gertrude moved back into the family home with her mother, brother William and servants. When William died in 1876, she was left the house in Abercromby Square as well as £5,000 in his will, equivalent to over half a million pounds today. Adding this to the income from share dividends left to her by her father, it meant she was financially secure for life.
Gertude never married and dedicated her life to philanthropy, education and religion. She was a generous supporter of St Margaret’s Church in Anfield and when the vicar there Alderman William Preston set up a school, she was one of the first teachers when it opened in 1879. The school has been situated in Aigburth since 1963 and today one of the houses is named Langton.
In the 1880s Gertrude was a benefactor of St Dunstans Church in Earle Road, with her cousin Sir Thomas Earle of Allerton Hall laying the foundation stone. In 1889 Gertrude she donated generously to the Liverpool Rescue Society House of Help in Falkner Street, set up to give temporary shelter to girls who wanted a break from their surroundings and counselling to help rebuild their lives.
Gertude liberally made donations to the fund for Liverpool Cathedral and was Chair of the Cathedral Ladies Embroidery Committee. The 1911 census has her as ‘living on own means’ with five servants. She died on 5th February 1916 and following a funeral service at the Lady Chapel of Liverpool Cathedral, she was interred alongside her mother, father and brother at Toxteth Park Cemetery.
In her will she left legacies that ensured her servants were provided for and £1,000 to the cathedral fund. Other beneficiaries included the Blue Coat School, Childrens Infirmary and Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge who each got £300.