Bowes and Bounds Connected

A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green

Mr Passmore Edwards - Victorian Philanthropist and Builder of Libraries

I live in Passmore Edwards House which is a sheltered housing scheme near Bounds Green Station.   It's a strange name...bit of a mouthful.  Yet quite elegant.  (the name - and the building)


Today my daughter sent me an e-mail with an attachment which explains that Mr Passmore Edwards was a Victorian philanthropist who helped to construct a number of libraries.   Today libraries are under threat - so it's good to remember people like Passmore! 


Here's the link to the article with great photographs.  The website is called Spitalfields Life and is a wonderful read.


Views: 392

Comment by Lindsey Berthoud on February 7, 2013 at 18:05

Spitalfields Life is superb - thanks for sharing Kathleen. 

Mr Passmore-Edwards made Londonist's top 10 social philanthropists list

Comment by Kathleen Duffy on February 8, 2013 at 17:05

Hi Lindsey - So glad you are enjoying Spitalfields Life and that's great about Passmore Edwards making the top ten!!  

It's a bit iffy round this area of Bounds Green because the electric keeps going on and off at regular intervals, so hence taking so long to reply to your comment.   I keep getting kicked out of the computer.... :(    



Comment by Ruth Cherrington on February 9, 2013 at 9:50

Very interesting indeed. All those lovely libraries. A real legacy but clearly now  under threat with so many lost already. Passmore Edwards was also a supporter of the early Working Men's Club and Institute Union probably because the early ideals of that movement were to help working men (and their families) through self-improving activities. Most early clubs had reading rooms even if just a small collection of books of newspapers were available. At a time (late 19th) when costs of papers was prohibitively dear for many, having access to these was a useful resource plus the books. The WMCIU organised a travelling library that went from club to club, the first ever mobile library I guess. I suppose PEdwards enthusiastically supported this 'reading room and education' aspect of the WMCIU, which I write about in my book about the history of WMCIU clubs. 

Comment by Richard McKeever on February 9, 2013 at 15:19


Many thanks for sharing this - its a fascinating read - particularly this weekend as it's National Libraries Day today.

There is another Local connection too - the book is published by Francis Boutle  based in Alexandra Park.

Comment by Ruth Cherrington on February 9, 2013 at 15:37

We have a wealth of local historians and historical people in B and B areas (and its fringes down Green Lanes...) 

Comment by Basil Clarke on February 9, 2013 at 23:35

Before we moved to Palmers Green we lived in Manor Park, near East Ham, and there was a Passmore Edwards library a short walk away.  Plashet Library, shown on this photograph, was converted into the Newham Registry Office about 20  years ago.  We thought about getting married there, as it's a beautiful building and was close at hand, but unfortunately there wasn't room for enough guests.

Incidentally, I read somewhere that when Passmore Edward's library in Whitechapel High Street opened, all the books were in Russian or Hebrew, because the local population consisted largely of Jews who had fled to England to escape pogroms in Russia and Poland.

Comment by Rachella Sinclair on February 10, 2013 at 10:27

It's a great website and a recently saw a book of the same name in a shop on Columbia road. I'm not sure it they're related.

Comment by Kathleen Duffy on February 10, 2013 at 10:44

Yes - it's the same author as Spitalfields Life - there is a bit of a mystery surrounding The Gentle Author as s/he is called.  A friend told me there was a booksigning being held in Spitalfields last year by the author and it was a man who is believ ed to work at the wonderful Bishopsgate Institute.  that's probably why there are so many wonderful old photos on the website as they have a fantastic archive.   All this is rumour of course, but it adds to the mystique!   A fine website by a really wonderful writer who obviously loves the aspects of London life that are often neglected.

Comment by Kathleen Duffy on February 10, 2013 at 10:50

Sorry about all those 'wonderfuls'!  I must try and think of another adjective....  :)

Comment by Kathleen Duffy on February 11, 2013 at 19:56

Basil, I found your comments about the Whitechapel Library being full of Russian and Hebrew books really interesting.  I love that area and have been on the Jewish History walk a few years ago which was fascinating.

Richard - thanks for the link to that local publishers - I just had a look on their site and they have some fabulous, unusual books.  I'm tempted.... especially the art ones - Firemen in Art, who would have thought about that! 

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Bowes and Bounds Connected to add comments!

Join Bowes and Bounds Connected


Support this site

We operate as a volunteer-run community project, accepting advertising helps cover our costs. Whilst it's cheap to run the site - it's not free. If you can help - please consider making a donation..


October 2020

© 2020   Created by Richard McKeever.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...