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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Benjamin Waugh

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BENJAMIN WAUGH (1839-1908), English social reformer, was born at Settle, Yorkshire, on the 10th of February 1839. He passed the early years of his life in business, but in 1865 entered the congregational ministry. Settling at Greenwich he threw himself with ardour into the work of social reform, devoting himself especially to the cause of the children. He served on the London School Board from 1870 to 1876. In 1884 he was responsible for the establishment of the London society for the prevention of cruelty to children, which four years later was established on a national basis. He was elected its honorary secretary, and it was largely owing to information obtained by him that the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 was passed, while by his personal effort he secured the insertion of a clause giving magistrates power to take the evidence of children too young to understand the nature of an oath. In 1889 he saw the work accomplished by his society (of which he had been made director the same year) recognized by the passing of an act for the pre - vention of cruelty to children, the first stepping-stone to the act of 1908 (see Law relating to children). In 1895 a charter of incorporation was conferred on the society, but in 1897 it was the object of a serious attack on its administration. An inquiry was demanded by Waugh, and the commission of inquiry, which included Lord Herschell and others, completely vindicated the society and its director. Waugh had given up pastoral work in 1887 to devote his whole time to the society, and he retained his post as director until 1905, when the state of his health com - pelled his retirement. He remained consulting director until his death at Westcliff, near Southend, Essex, on the I r th of March 1908. Waugh edited the Sunday Magazine from 1874 to 1896, but he had otherwise little leisure for literary work. His The Gaol Cradle, who rocks it? (1873) was a plea for the abolition of juvenile imprisonment.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Benjamin Waugh'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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