Reformers, Patrons and Philanthropists: The Cowper-Temples and High Politics in Victorian England
Dr James Gregory
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James Gregory, Lecturer in Modern History at the School of Social and International Studies at the University of Bradford published his book Reformers, Patrons and Philanthropists: The Cowper-Temples and High Politics in Victorian England. William Cowper-Temple, later Lord Mount Temple, was private secretary to one Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, and minister in the government of Lord Palmerston. He sought to improve the nation's health and rebuild London, and famously amended the Education Act in 1870. His charismatic wife, Georgina, was also champion of diverse social and moral reforms, and friend to such worthies as John Ruskin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Frances Power Cobbe. In the first full-length biography of this distinguished couple, James Gregory explores the Cowper-Temples roles within Whig-Liberalism, philanthropy and social reform, and provides a fascinating insight into the private lives of two aristocrats dedicated to using their powers of influence to alleviate problems in Victorian society. At the heart of the Liberal political establishment and related to two prime ministers, William Cowper-Temple didn't see any oddity in his experiments in spiritualism, and the connections that he and Georgina made with such controversial figures as the novelist, spy and mystic Laurence Oliphant or the American theosocialist religious leader, Thomas Lake Harris. At the same time as they were promoting sanitary reform, higher education for women, temperance, and the preservation of commons, the Cowper-Temples promoted bold experiments in forging understanding across the religious divide at conferences in Broadlands, their Hampshire mansion.