The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Henry Fawcett

Henry Fawcett

A carte-de-visite portrait of blind British statesman and economist Henry Fawcett (1833-1884).

Born in Salisbury, Fawcett was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In 1858, when he was 25, he was blinded by his own father in a shooting accident. Despite his disability, he continued with his studies, especially in economics, and in 1863 published his Manual of Political Economy, becoming in the same year Professor of Political Economy in Cambridge. Other significant works include The Economic Position of the British Labourer (1871).

After repeated defeats he was eventually elected MP for Brighton in 1865. He campaigned for woman’s suffrage, and through this campaigning he met his wife, Millicent Garrett, whom he married in 1867.

In 1880 he was appointed Postmaster-General. He introduced many innovations, including parcel post, postal orders, the 6d telegram, and licensing changes to permit payphones and trunk lines. He was elected Rector of Glasgow University in 1883.

His career was cut short by his premature death from pleurisy on 6 November 1884, at the age of 51.

Photographed by Henry Joseph Whitlock of Birmingham.


Code: 126600
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