Armine Nutting Gosling (1861-1942)

12. Number 52 Rennie's Mill Road was the home of suffrage leader and tireless advocate for women, Armine Nutting Gosling.

Armine Nutting was born in Quebec in modest circumstances that she never forgot. After teacher's training college, in 1882 she became Principal of the Church of England Girl's School in St. John's. In 1888, she married Gilbert Gosling, a Director of Harvey and Company, a significant importing and shipping firm. Four of her children survived infancy but two died, and the Goslings became leaders of the child welfare movement.

Home of Armine Nutting Gosling
Home of Armine Nutting Gosling
52 Rennie's Mill Road, St. John's, NL
Photo by Linda Cullum. © 2023.

Starting in 1908, first at the Ladies Reading Room in downtown St. John's, Armine articulated a broad case for women's suffrage to address job conditions, women's low wages, legal inequality, poor education and general marginalization.

Armine Nutting Gosling, ca. 1885
Armine Nutting Gosling, ca. 1885
Gosling was Headmistress of Bishop Spencer College
Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections (Coll - MF 409 1.01), Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University, St. John's, NL.

As a suffrage activist in the first two decades of the twentieth century she met personal attacks in press and pulpit. However, her role as Secretary of the Women's Patriotic Association in World War One moderated attitudes.

Armine Nutting Gosling, ca. 1916
Armine Nutting Gosling, ca. 1916
Newfoundland suffragist Armine Gosling helped form the St. John's Ladies' Reading Room.
From The Distaff 1916, p.11. Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University, St. John's, NL.

With the support of her husband, by now a progressive mayor of St. John's, propertied and lease-holding women gained a municipal vote in 1921. Declaring this a "stepping stone to greater things," Gosling became President of the Newfoundland Women's Franchise League, leading the largest petition campaign in Newfoundland history as of that time. Victory came in 1925 to all women, age 25 or over who were British subjects, though no person in Labrador was included in an election until 1946.

Armine Gosling was also a pioneer in the animal welfare movement, women's sports, especially curling, orphanage reform and the Girl Guides. In 2025 a statue honoring Gosling is to be erected directly behind her house in Bannerman Park, marking the 100th anniversary of women achieving the vote.

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