George Dawson, John Bright, Birmingham Central Library, and Birmingham Central Library stone plaque in Birmingham

This Library built in the year 1866, and dedicated to public use by an address by George Dawson M.A. on the 26th of October of that year, was partially destroyed by fire on the 11th of January 1879, having been reconstructed and greatly enlarged, was reopened on the 1st of June 1882,
by the Right Hon John Bright M.P.
Thomas Avery Esqs being Mayor.
Messrs Martin and Chamberlain Architects
to replace the books destroyed by the fire
a sum of £14,000 was forthwith subscribed
principally by the burgesses of this borough

John Bright (16 November 1811 – 27 March 1889), Quaker, was a British Radical and Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation, and a strong critic of British foreign policy.In partnership with Richard Cobden, he founded the Anti-Corn Law League, aimed at abolishing the unpopular Corn Laws, which protected landowners’ interests by levying taxes on imported wheat, thus raising the price of bread at a time when factory-owners were trying to cut wages. Abolition was achieved in 1846.Bright also worked with Cobden in another Free Trade initiative, the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty of 1860, promoting closer interdependence between Britain and France. This campaign was conducted in collaboration with French economist Michel Chevalier, and succeeded despite Parliament’s endemic mistrust of the French.Bright sat in the House of Commons from 1843 to 1889, promoting free trade, electoral reform and religious freedom. He was almost a lone voice in opposing the Crimean War; he also opposed Gladstone’s proposed Home Rule for Ireland.The phrase ‘Mother of Parliaments’ was coined by Bright.

Source: dbpedia

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