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Sir Edward Baines

in 1840 in the crowd at the conference
Born 1800
Died 1890
Occupation Politician
Known for Abolitionism

Sir Edward Baines, also known as Edward Baines junior (28 May 1800, Leeds - 1890) was a nonconformist English newspaper editor and MP.


Edward Baines, of St Ann's Hill, Leeds, was the second son (and biographer) of Edward Baines (1774-1848), proprietor of the Leeds Mercury and MP for Leeds in the 1830s, and his wife Charlotte Talbot. His elder brother, Matthew Talbot Baines, was also a politician.

Edward Baines junior was educated at a Leeds private school and then at the nonconformist grammar school New College, Manchester. From 1815 he worked as journalist and editor of the Leeds Mercury, becoming a partner in 1827 . He married Martha Blackburn in 1829. became editor and, after his father's death, proprietor of the Leeds Mercury.

Baines helped to found the Leeds Literary and Philosophical Society. He was also a prominent advocate of working-class adult education, founding Yorkshire mechanics institutes in imitation of George Birkbeck's London mechanics institute. An educational voluntarist, he opposed state-sponsored education until the 1860s. A political Liberal, he supported the 1832 Reform Act and the 1834 new poor laws. His History of the Cotton Manufacture (1835) was written in opposition to the corn laws, and he also published criticisms of Owenism. In 1840 he attended the World's Anti-Slavery convention where he was captured in a group painting.[1] He served as Liberal M.P. for Leeds from 1859 to 1874. He was knighted in 1880.

Edward Baines' sister Maragret, married Charles Reed the educationist and M.P. Edward's third daughter, Jane Eleanor, married Edward Crossley of Halifax, the carpet-manufacturer, astronomer and MP who gave his name to the Crossley reflector telescope.


  • History of the Cotton Manufacture, 1835
  • The Social, Educational and Religious State of the Manufacturing Districts, 1843
  • Mr Owen's Establishment at New Lanark, a Failure!!', 1838
  • The Socialists, A Society of Beasts, 1840?
  • An alarm to the nation, on the unjust, unconstitutional and dangerous measure of state education proposed by the government, 1847
  • Life of Edward Baines, 1861.


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Matthew Talbot Baines
George Skirrow Beecroft
Member of Parliament for Leeds
With: George Skirrow Beecroft to 1868
Robert Meek Carter from 1868
William Wheelhouse from 1868
Succeeded by
Robert Tennant
Robert Meek Carter
William Wheelhouse


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