Friday, October 16, 2015

John Biggs - another Leicester man

We were walking between Highcross Shopping Centre and Newarke Street car park by the direct route, rather than the circuitous one we tried earlier - Leicester played its old trick of shifting in space when we weren't concentrating.

There on Welford Place is a statue of John Biggs (1801 - 1871).  I'm always curious about these characters. No photograph by me, but this link has one.  The information below comes from a blog.
John was the eldest son of a hosiery manufacturer, and a Unitarian. He was a social reformer, respected by the Chartists as a model employer, and he became mayor of Leicester in 1840, 1847, and 1856 and borough magistrate from 1840.  He campaigned for the improvement of conditions at work for children, and the abolition of the practice of renting frames to framework knitters - a way of charging workers almost as much as they earned. 
Portrait of the British School, unknown artist. In Leicester Town Hall
He was a Leicester MP from 1856 to 1862.  However his business failed around the same time, as trade had become very sluggish, and expenses high. He died with less than £1000 in his estate.
The original statue was the work of G.F.Lawson in granite. It was later replaced by a bronze cast.

For more information, see the blog referred to above. There is also a lengthier examination of the Biggs family.