William Edward Forster - Victoria Embankment Gardens, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.672 W 000° 06.798
30U E 700305 N 5710625
Quick Description: This statue to William Edward Forester is located in Victoria Embankment Gardens that is just to the east of the Temple tube station.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/4/2012 11:30:45 AM
Waymark Code: WMF780
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 3

Long Description:

The statue stands atop a granite plinth that carries an inscription in bronze lettering. The inscription reads:

William Edward Forster
Born July 11 - 1818
Died April 5 - 1886
To his wisdom and courage
England owes
the establishment
throughout the land
of a national system of
elementary education

The bronze, life-sized statue shows Forster standing. He is wearing typical Victorian garb with a jacket extending to mid-thigh and a waistcoat. His right arm his bent with the right hand behind his back. His left hand is down by his side and in the hand is a book. He is bare-headed with a full beard and his gaze is straight ahead.

The statue is dated 1890 and is by sculptor Richard Pinker.

The Spartacus Educational website [visit link] carries a biography of Forster:

"William Edward Forster, the only son of William Forster, a Minister of the Society of Friends, was born in Bradpole, Dorset, in 1819. Forster was a passionate social reformer and was an active member of the Anti-Slavery Society.

After receiving a Quaker education in Bristol and London, Forster trained as a lawyer. Forster took a keen interest in politics and was friendly with several well-known radicals, including Robert Owen, Thomas Cooper and F.D. Maurice. In 1835 Forster changed careers and entered the wool trade. Six years later Forster became a partner in the woollen business in Bradford.

Forster left the Society of Friends when he married Jane Arnold, the eldest daughter of Thomas Arnold, in 1850. An active member of the Liberal Party, Forster was elected MP for Bradford in 1861. Four years after entering Parliament, Forster became Under Secretary for the Colonies under Earl Russell.

Following the 1868 General Election, William Gladstone appointed Forster as Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education. Forster therefore had responsibility for carrying through the House of Commons the 1870 Education Act. When Forster introduced the bill on 17th February 1870, he pointed out he was not doing away with existing schools, but helping to add schools in those areas where they were in short supply. In Forster's words: "to fill up its gaps at least cost of public money".

As a result of Forster's Education Act, School Boards were given the power to examine the provision of elementary education in their district, provided then by Voluntary Societies, and if there were not enough school places, they could build and maintain schools out of the rates. The main opposition for these measures came from members of Forster's own Liberal Party, who argued that education should be compulsory, secular and free.

In 1880 Forster became chief secretary for Ireland. He was constantly criticised by Irish MPs in the House of Commons and his life was threatened when he introduced measures to deal with Irish rebels. When the majority of Gladstone's cabinet decided in April 1882 that the Irish leaders should be released from prison, Forster resigned from office. William Forster remained a strong opponent of Irish Home Rule until his death in 1886."

URL of the statue: [Web Link]

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