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Portrait of John Passmore Edwards by George Frederic Watts, 1894

John Passmore Edwards (24 March 1823 - 22 April 1911)[1] was a Victorian journalist, newspaper owner and philanthropist. He was born in Blackwater, a small village, situated between Redruth and Truro, in Cornwall, the son of a carpenter.

Passmore Edwards Cottage Hospital in Acton, London. Built c. 1900, it is an example of Passmore Edwards' philanthropy. (September 2006)

Contents

Biography

His mother's maiden name was Passmore and she originated from Newton Abbot, Devon.

He became the Manchester representative of London Sentinel , a weekly newspaper, opposed to the Corn Law [1] . He was a Liberal Member of Parliament for Salisbury,

He became the editor of a leading London newspaper The Echo which he had bought in 1876. His publishing ventures had been failures for a time, but his 1862 purchase of Building News lead to profitability, this was followed by Mechanics Magazine and a share in the daily Echo. He eventually sold two thirds of his share in The Echo to Andrew Carnegie to follow a political and social agenda. However, they disagreed and he bought it back and restored his editor in 1886. The paper closed in 1905 [1].

He was a delegate to peace congresses in Brussels, Paris, and Frankfort (from 1848 to 1850). He stood as an Independent candidate for Truro in the General Election of 1868. He didn't win this seat but in 1880 he gained the parliamentary seat of Salisbury. However, he soon became a bit sceptical about the quality of professional politics and the inability of politicians to effectively represent the interests of their constituents. He twice refused knighthood, and his opposition to the Boer War made him somewhat unpopular.

Philanthropy

The Passmore Edwards Settlement building, now the Mary Ward Centre, Tavistock Place.

A life-long champion of the working classes, Passmore Edwards is remembered as a generous benefactor. Over the space of 14 years, 70 major buildings were established as a direct result of his bequests. These included hospitals, 11 drinking fountains, 32 marble busts, 24 libraries [1], schools, convalescence homes and art galleries and the Passmore Edwards Settlement in Tavistock Place. He was also a generous donor to the Workers' Educational Association [1].

Legacy

Many of the buildings that he paid for are still in use for their original purpose. A bust of Passmore Edwards by Sir George Frampton was rescued from the basement of Hoxton Library and unveiled in May 2007 at the Passmore Edwards Library in St. Ives, Cornwall [2].

He gave the public library buildings in Cornwall at Bodmin, Camborne, Falmouth, Launceston, Liskeard, Penzance, Redruth, St Ives and Truro[3].

Gallery

External links

References

  • Baynes, Peter John Passmore Edwards 1823-1911: An Account of His Life and Works, PA Baynes (1995) ISBN 0-9526231-0-2
  • Best, R. S. The life and good works of John Passmore Edwards, with pen and ink illustrations by C. M. Pellow and a list of Buildings, sponsored by Edwards, their architects and opening dates, with an appendix on the architect Silvanus Trevail, [(1851-1903), who designed nine of them. Dyllansow Truran (1982) ISBN 0-907566-18-9
  • Burrage, E H J Passmore Edwards, philanthropist (1902)
  • Edwards, J P A few footprints (1906)
  • MacDonald, J J Passmore Edwards Institutions, Strand Newspaper Company (1900)
  1. ^ a b c d e ODNB article by A. J. A. Morris, ‘Edwards, John Passmore (1823–1911)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2006 [1], accessed 15 Nov 2007.
  2. ^ West Briton, 15 November 2007, Page 43: Letter from the Head of Cornwall County Library service, Chris Ramsey " Library Honours philanthropist".
  3. ^ Cornwall Calling website - List of famous people (accessed 17 November 2007). This site notes many other buildings in Cornwall, due to J.Passmore Edwards' benefaction.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Granville Richard Ryder
John Alfred Lush
Member of Parliament for Salisbury
18801885
With: with William Grenfell (1880-1882)
Coleridge John Kennard (1882-1885)
Succeeded by
William Grenfell
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