Lady Eleanor Grosvenor (October 22, 1820 – May 4, 1911), became the Duchess of Northumberland from her marriage to Lord Algernon Percy, who later succeeded to the dukedom of Northumberland following the death of his elder brother. The couple married on August 25, 1842 at St George’s, Hanover Square, when he was aged 49. As a result of gout in his right hand, he died in February 1865. With no children of their own, the dukedom passed to one of his cousins the Earl of Beverley. In 1873 she moved to Richmond living at a large property, originally been built for the playwright George Coleman the elder in 1766, that became known as Northumberland House. She lived there until 1879. In its obituary The Times wrote: “She was one of the most beautiful and amiable women of her time, [and] was of much assistance to him [the duke] in his public work.” Clearly she was much more, for her husband, who as president of the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck changed its name to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, was also a master of languages. When he died she took over his “monumental work” the Arabic Lexicon and completed it. The obituary continues: “She took a special interest in the duke’s extensive restoration of Alnwick Castle, and in the collections of pictures and antiquities which he formed there. The hospitalities of the Castle were almost feudal in their stately profusion. The duchess was very charitable, and was greatly beloved by her neighbours, both rich and poor, at Stanwlick, the dower-house of the family. The hall stands in the midst of a British camp, which is remarkably well preserved, and there are also many Roman remains in the district. The duchess was always ready to welcome the visits of antiquaries.” She died aged 91 after a short illness. Northumberland House which later became the venue of the Richmond Club was knocked down in 1969 and an office block how stands on its approximate site.
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