Thursday, 28 January 2016

New book - The Forgotten Philanthropist: The Life of Christopher Rawdon

The new biography I am writing on Liverpool based merchant and philanthropist Christopher Rawdon is on track, and new research is revealing new aspects of his life and that of his extended family. The Rawdon Briggs branch of the family were bankers in Halifax during the nineteenth century, their banking concerns extending into Liverpool by the early twentieth century. There are also links to Freemasonry and the Theosophical Society, and the book will act as a companion piece to my work on the Liverpool Masonic Rebellion and the York Grand Lodge, as this new book considers how the Rawdon family moved from York to Liverpool during the same period discussed in these two previous books. Indeed, the Rawdon family were Freemen of York, and moved in similar circles to the prominent families involved in the York Grand Lodge, and on moving to Liverpool, Christopher Rawdon mixed with the prominent merchants and politicians of Liverpool, some of whom were involved in local Freemasonry.

The book should be published at the end of the year, and I have also been experimenting with ideas for the cover; the new picture of Christopher Rawdon being coloured by Turkish artist Yusuf Tolga Unker.

It is hoped that this new biography will be part of a larger project based in Liverpool, where myself and the students from the Rawdon Residents group can put together a display and a series of talks that can educate schools and other local history groups about this long forgotten philanthropist, looking at how he assisted in bringing education to the local people and ensured the establishment of an open space in part of the city.

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