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John Passmore Edwards, 1823-1911: an account of his lifeand works by Peter Baynes.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Edwards Passmore 1823-1911

Edwards was born at Blackwater, Cornwall, the son of a carpenter andpart-time publican. He was educated at the village school. In the early 1840she was a free-lance journalist in London. From 1845 he was on the committeesfor the Abolition of Capital Punishment; for the Abolition of Flogging in theArmy and Navy, and helped direct the Political Reform Association, the BallotSociety; the Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade. In 1848 he wassent to the International Peace Conference in Brussels as a delegate for theLondon Peace Society. Edwards represented the society again at PeaceConferences in Paris (1849) and Frankfurt (1850). In 1850 He began themonthly magazine The Public Good, and in 1851 assumed editorship of thePeace Advocate and launched the Temperance Tract Journal. During the1860s Edwards bought the Mechanics Magazine and the Building News. In1876 he bought the first London daily halfpenny paper, the Echo, which hadstarted in 1868. During the 1868 General Election Edwards unsuccessfullystood as Liberal candidate for Truro. From 1880 to 1885 he was Liberal MP forSalisbury. In the 1890s he began his philanthropic activities. Beneficiariesincluded Whitechapel Art Gallery, the Mary Ward Centre and the London Schoolof Economics and Political Science. In 1901 he gave the LSE 10,000 to helpit move to a new site at Clare Market in Aldwych, London. Edwards also stroveto improve hospitals and libraries. Edwards founded 24 libraries in London,the home counties and Cornwall.


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