Friends of Burgess Park celebrates Passmore Edwards

Poster with details of event. Antique engraving of building with superimposed text

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Passmore Edwards’ birth on 24th March 1823, and Friends of Burgess Park is joining with others around the UK to celebrate the Passmore Edwards 200 Festival. He funded the Wells Way Library, now in the Park, and we’re holding a programme of events based at there on Sunday 26th March. There’s an exhibition about the man and his legacy, children’s activities, a commemorative tree-planting, a reading by local author Jacqueline Crooks from her new book Fire Rush, refreshments and more. We’ve also organised a short Bike Tour around three of Passmore Edwards’ south London buildings, guided by renowned local architect Benedict O’Looney. You can book now for the bike tour on Eventbrite – places are limited to 25, so book early!

From humble Cornish beginnings, Passmore Edwards went on to become a journalist, newspaper proprietor and MP. He amassed a sizable fortune which he used to further the education of working people all over the UK. He did this mainly by funding numerous public buildings – around 70 in total. 

John Passmore Edwards

In all, Edwards funded 15 libraries in London as well as several other public buildings, such as the South London Gallery and the LSE.  Many of these buildings are still in public use today for a variety of purposes. The Wells Way library was opened in 1903. Read more about the Old Library Baths and Washhouse on our page here. Friends of Burgess Park is hoping the bicentenary celebration will focus attention on this significant building which sits, currently unused, in the middle of Burgess Park.

Come and find out more about the remarkable man Passmore Edwards on Sunday afternoon, 26th March 2023. Sign up for the bike tour (2-4pm) on Eventbrite, or drop round to the Wells Way Library from 2pm and join in the fun.

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