H06403  Miss Fowler Tutt, 1914

Box 25


‘Rehabilitating Kate Fowler Tutt’ – Sarah Jay, Project Administrator

Audio transcript at bottom of page


Kate Fowler Tutt, Central Girls’ School headmistress, ardently promoted the War effort by getting her girls to knit socks, recycle garments, raise funds for eggs for convalescents, put pocket money into war savings, and distribute fuel economy advice. She instigated the Town Hall communal kitchen and lectured on domestic thrift.


Related stories: Lightbox 16 & Lightbox 27


Based on ‘Rehabilitating Kate Fowler Tutt, 1868-1954. Lewes Educationalist, Social Activist and Feminist’. Frances Stenlake. (Sussex Archaeological Collections 154 (2016) pp 273-90)


“It’s not clear why Kate Fowler Tutt came to be remembered as the spinster schoolmistress who objected to Rodin’s sculpture The Kiss being placed in the Town Hall in 1914 when this venue was used for sport and entertainment for the soldiers billeted in the town. There is no documentary evidence suggesting that she was responsible; the decision to give back the statue was taken by the Council as they said they could not safeguard it as required by Mr E P Warren when he loaned it to the Town.


Her reputation suffered as a result and her achievements in improving the lives of underprivileged working families and their children in Lewes have been largely ignored. As the headmistress of South Malling Elementary School and later Central Senior Girls School, she campaigned to improve the health and wellbeing of her pupils. During the war, she set up a communal kitchen and encouraged her pupils to contribute to the war efforts. After her retirement in 1924, she became a local councillor and oversaw the first stages of the Nevill estate. She was a suffragist and a feminist and campaigned for the full participation of women in all areas of public life.”