Adele Gregorini Bingham

Mother, volunteer, aristocrat from Bologna.
Roberto Sarmenghi

Bust of Lady Adele Bingham - Picture by Irene Sarmenghi

Noble lady daughter of the English lord Richard Bingham Count of Lucan and of the Bolognese Adelaide Gregorini, Lady Adele Bingham de Lucan Gregorini played a significant role among the female figures of nineteenth-century Bologna. Born in Paris on February 10, 1821, although she kept her father's citizenship, she lived in Bologna spending her time between the palace of Via Barberia and the sumptuous villa of Croce di Casalecchio, residences inherited from her mother.


Married to her cousin Gregorio Gregorini, a hero of the Risorgimento, she devoted herself to many charitable undertakings, actively participating in the transformation of traditional philanthropism into actual practices. She contributed to the establishment of women's associations, particularly those that matured within the workers' mutual aid societies. While maintaining the role of wife and mother, she was part of that large group of aristocratic women (including her friend Alma Minghetti Vecchietti, Marco Minghetti's sister) who decided to "leave the salons" and give life to concrete and lasting activities in favour of the most needy.


In 1881 she was one of the supporters of the initiative of the Women's Artisan Society aimed at creating a kindergarten for infants and, as the organization’s director, she was part of the board of directors of the kindergarten which was based on modern English and Swiss models with the purpose of "protecting and taking care of children in those hours of the day, in which their mothers work outside their homes."


Upon her death on February 12, 1898, she left five hundred liras each to the kindergarten, the Istituzione dei poveri pazzi guariti and the Baliatico della Casa della Misericordia.


Professor Luigi D'Apel, who drafted the statute of the kindergarten and was also vice-president of its board of directors, delivered a commemorative speech at the assembly held on January 28, 1900, in honour of the two founders and patronesses, Countess Adele Bingham de Lucan Gregorini and Donna Alma Vecchietti Minghetti, who died shortly one after the other.


In referring specifically to Lady Gregorini he added: "the combination of strong Anglo-Saxon with the gentle Latin ancestry brings the best qualities: the first bringing consistency, unscrupulous discernment, love of liberty, tolerance of the opinions of others without weakness for one's own principles; the second the genial enthusiasm, ease and grace, tenderness and reliability."


The passage of the commemoration describing her love for her husband's sons, Ugo and Aldo, whom she adopted and deeply loved was very moving. The great sorrow caused by Aldo's death from tubercular meningitis on May 6, 1880, at the age of 8 is described as follows: "And how bitterly she mourned, after a short year, the early death of Aldo, after whose name she gave one of the cribs, the first one of which she offered to our nursery school!"


Lady Adele Bingham de Lucan Gregorini rests in the family funeral chapel in the Certosa di Bologna together with her mother, husband, two sons Aldo and Ugo, grandson Giovanni and daughter-in-law Grace King Konnelly.


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