Hawarden: Joanna Goodchild 1921 – 2016

In the pretty Welsh border village of Hawarden is The Gladstone Library, a unique and peaceful place that is Britain’s only Prime Ministerial library, founded by William Gladstone.  As well as the library, the stately building has meeting spaces, accommodation and a cafe and runs courses and conferences.


We visited on a sunny day and before walking around the lovely countryside from Hawarden we stopped at the Gladstone Library for drinks.  Beside the front door overlooking the lawns and the statue of William Gladstone is this bench remembering Joanna Goodchild.

Joanna Goodchild died locally on 17 February 2016.  As well as being a long serving supporter of Gladstone’s Library, Joanna Goodchild worked as the secretary of The Queen’s School, an independent girl’s school in Chester, for many years, from 1947 until 1984.  I uncovered some heart-warming stories about Joanna Goodchild’s time at The Queen’s School.  Founded in 1878, this is the only school granted the privilege of being known as The Queen’s School, following a royal decree from Queen Victoria.

When Joanna Goodchild retired as secretary at The Queen’s School in 1984 she was given a glowing tribute in the school magazine.  She was described as having an, ‘unparalleled’ ‘knowledge of the day-to-day working of the school’ and being ‘an integral part of school life for so long.’  She had an ability to ‘react to any situation with wisdom, humour and tact ‘ and was a valued member of staff who would be greatly missed.


In Loving Memory of JOANNA GOODCHILD A Long Serving Supporter And Friend Of Gladstone’s Library 1921 – 2016

Susan Elphick, who received an MBE for her charitable work at a local hospital, attended The Queen’s School in the 1950s.  At the school’s annual Commemoration Service in 2015 she remembered Joanna Goodchild fondly and told the young people that she remained friends with her after leaving the school.


2 comments on “Hawarden: Joanna Goodchild 1921 – 2016

  1. Will Reid says:

    Belated thank you for this. Joanna was my wife’s aunt and we paid for the bench memorial. She loved the Gladstone so much. We still miss her..
    Joanna also received an MBE for her work with SSAFA.
    She also left a diary about her years in Palestine and Egypt during WW2.
    Incredible woman.
    Thank you again.

    • Thank you for adding to Joanna’s story. She sounds like a fascinating woman that I would have loved to meet. I am so pleased you remembered her with a bench so I was able to learn about her. I’ll stop and think about her next time we’re at the Gladstone.

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