George Dawson - The Lost Prophet
George Dawson came to Birmingham in 1844. By the time he died in 1876, the town was the envy of the civilised world. A celebrated lecturer, heterodox preacher and political activist, Dawson's greatest achievement was the development of an ethos which became known as the ‘civic gospel’. Perhaps the crucial influence on Joseph Chamberlain, this translated the passion and mission of religion into an effort to make a new and better kind of city, one that would benefit all of its citizens. As part of this civic gospel, Dawson founded the world's first great public Shakespeare library for everyone in Birmingham, very much including its working people. ‘Everything to everybody’, was Dawson's watchword. Today his name – and the trailblazing reputation of the city which he helped to build – have been largely forgotten. In this article, Professor Ewan Fernie recovers that lost story, and makes a passionate case for its relevance today.
To learn more about the 'Everything to Everybody' Project please click below:
Keywords: George Dawson, Professor Ewan Fernie, Civic Gospel, Joseph Chamberlain, Birmingham, Shakespeare, Shakespeare Library, Everything to EverybodyDownload the Full Article (PDF)
Two Titans, One City
Two famous and powerful men of the late Victorian and early Edwardian era, Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914) and George Cadbury (1839-1922), towered over one of the great cities of the British Empire - Birmingham. Together, they offer a fascinating window into the rapidly changing world in which they lived and the preoccupations of their...
The Birmingham Political Machine: Winning Elections for Joseph Chamberlain
The British electorate swelled dramatically with the passing of the Second Reform Act in 1867. This presented the political class with a significant challenge. Here was a large, new electorate which needed to be understood, managed, enthused, and persuaded to vote for the right candidate in local and parliamentary elections....