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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Anthony John Mundella

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ANTHONY JOHN MUNDELLA (1825-1897), English educational and industrial reformer, of Italian extraction, was born at Leicester in 1825. After a few years spent at an elementary school, he was apprenticed to a hosier at the age of eleven; He afterwards became successful in business in Nottingham, filled several civic offices, and was known for his philanthropy. He was sheriff of Nottingham in 1853, and in 1859 organized the first courts of arbitration for the settlement of disputes between masters and men. In November 1868 he was returned to parliament for Sheffield as an advanced Liberal. He represented that constituency until November 1885, when he was returned for the Brightside division of Sheffield, which he continued to represent until his death. In the Gladstone ministry of 1880 Mundella was vice-president of the council, and shortly afterwards was nominated fourth charity commissioner for England and Wales. In February 1886 he was appointed president of the board of trade, with a seat in the cabinet, and was sworn a member of the privy council. In August 1892, when the Liberals again came into power, Mundella was again appointed president of the board of trade, and he continued in this position until 1894, when he resigned office. His resignation was brought about by his connexion with a financial company which went into liquidation in circumstances calling for the official intervention of the board of trade. However innocent his own connexion with the company was, it involved him in unpleasant public discussion, and his position became untenable. Having made a close study of the educational systems of Germany and Switzerland, Mundella was an early advocate of compulsory education in England. He rendered valuable service in connexion with the Elementary Education Act of 1870, and the educational code of 1882, which became known as the "Mundella Code," marked a new departure in the regulation of public elementary schools and the conditions of the Government grants. To his initiative was chiefly due the Factory Act of 1875, which established a ten-hours day for women and. children in textile factories; and the Conspiracy Act, which removed certain restrictions on trade unions. It was he also who established the labour department of the board of trade and founded the Labour Gazette. He introduced and passed bills for the better protection of women and children in brickyards and for the limitation of their labours in factories;. and he effected substantial improvements in the Mines Regulation Bill, and was the author of much other useful legislation. In recognition of his efforts, a marble bust of himself, by Boehm, subscribed for by 80,000 factory workers, chiefly women and children, was presented to Mrs Mundella. He died in London on the 21st of July 1897.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Anthony John Mundella'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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