Old Hyde

Old Hyde
Pole Bank 1910 ----------------------------------------------------------Town Hall 1937 --------------------------------------------- Cenotaph 1990

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Henry Enfield Dowson


The following information is taken from "A History of Hyde Chapel" chiefly from the materials and reminiscences of John Thornley compiled by Thomas Middleton and published by Cartwright & Rattray Ltd, Manchester, 1908.

"What Hyde Chapel owes to Mr Dowson, the present generation can never know. It will only be when, after the passage of years, the historian of the future comes to sum up events ... that the true value of Mr. Dowson's ministry will be known and understood."

"Henry Enfield Dowson was born at Geldeston, Norfolk on the 23rd day of November, 1837, the son of Septimus Dowson." He was educated first at the school of his uncle, John Withers Dowson, at Norwich. Subsequently he studied at London University College School; Malleson's School, Hove House, Brighton; Higher Burgher School, Heidelberg. In 1857 he proceeded to University College, London gaining a first class B.A. with classical honours. After a theological course ar Manchester New College he was appointed co-pastor at the the Church of the Messiah, Birmingham. In 1867 he came to Gee Cross to take up ministry at Hyde Chapel.

He married Lucy Osler in Birmingham in 1866 and went on to sire four daughters and four sons.

"Outside his purely ministerial labours, his chief work in Hyde has been rendered on behalf of education. He has taken an active part in the management of British Schools ... Boston Mills School [became] an infants' school and old Hyde Lane School opened as a British School. He also had a part in the management of the George Street School, formerly the Methodist New Connexion School. ... the Gee Cross Undenominational School and the Wesleyan School were handed over to the Town Council after the passing of the Education Act of 1902."


He was a staunch supporter of the Liberal Party, was President of the Seal Club since its inauguration and also President of Hyde Cricket Club.

"A great feature of Mr. Dowson's ministry has been the happy relationshio between him and all churches and sects. ... No more striking testiomony to his popularity and the general respect in which he is held by all classes could be produced than the unanimous welcome which met the announcement that he, in conjunction with the Rev, F.A. Screeton, M.A., Vicar of St Thomas', Hyde, was to make an effort to bring about a settlement of the dispute which led to the long "strike" at Ashton Mills, in the early part of 1908."

"Mr. Dowson is commonly spoken of - not in irony, be it said, but in a spirit of admiration as - 'The Bishop of Gee Cross,' and 'The Grand Old Man of Hyde.'"

See also
D is for Dowson, Revd H.E. (1837-1925);
an account of Enfield School;
David Barlow's overview of his life in a YouTube video.

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