Sir Arthur Helps KCB HonDCL (10 July 1813 – 7 March 1875) was an English writer and dean of the Privy Council. Arthur Helps was born in Streatham and the family lived in Balham, a small hamlet within the Streatham Parish. He lived in Balham House
The youngest son of London merchant Thomas Helps a London merchant, alderman, and treasurer of St Bartholomew's Hospital. His mother was Ann Frisquet Plucknett (1777–1851), daughter of the Revd John Plucknett. He was educated at Eton College and at Trinity College, Cambridge,
In 1860 he was appointed Clerk of the Privy Council on the recommendation of Lord Granville. This appointment brought him into personal communication with The Queen and The Prince Consort, both of whom came to regard him with confidence and respect.
In 1862 he established the Bishops Waltham Clay Company for the manufacture of bricks and terracotta.
In 1862 the Queen asked him to revise Prince Albert’s speeches for publication and he also edited the Queen’s Highland Journal which was published in 1868. He is frequently mentioned in Queen Victoria's diary, a typical entry being such as this recorded at Balmoral on March 9th 1870: ‘I saw Mr Helps this evening at half past six, who introduced me to Mr. Charles Dickens, the celebrated author’.
(Extracts John R. DeBruyn and John Brown)
Image 1 Sir Arthur Helps ('Men of the Day. No. 86.') by Carlo Pellegrini. Published in Vanity Fair 15 August 1874
© National Portrait Gallery. Reproduced under the Creative Commons license
Image 2. Family Tomb in St Leonard's churchyard ©London Borough of Lambeth