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Westminster Abbey honour for Matthew Boulton

Westminster Abbey honour for Matthew Boulton

11th March 2013

The 18th century Birmingham industrialist Matthew Boulton is to be honoured with a memorial in Westminster Abbey.

The 18th century Birmingham industrialist Matthew Boulton is to be honoured with a memorial in Westminster Abbey.

Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) was an important figure in the early Industrial Revolution. He was a man of many talents: silversmith, button- and buckle-manufacturer, steam engineer, coin minter, entrepreneur, Fellow of the Royal Society and one of the founder members of the Lunar Society of Birmingham.

Since the twentieth century his name has been largely overshadowed by that of his business partner, James Watt. However, without Boulton’s vision, drive and ambition it is unlikely that Watt would have fulfilled his potential as an engineer and inventor,.

Following the extensive programme of exhibitions and publications to commemorate the bicentenary of his death in 2009, there has been a wider appreciation of Boulton’s contribution to British history. His significance was further recognised in 2011 when the Bank of England launched its new £50 note which features both Boulton and Watt.

There has been a memorial to James Watt in Westminster Abbey since 1825. Birmingham Museums Trust will work with the Abbey on the design of the new memorial which should be unveiled in 2014.

Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, said: ‘We are delighted that Matthew Boulton’s major contribution to British and World history will finally be recognised with this new memorial’.

Sir Arnold Wolfendale FRS, 14th Astronomer Royal, one of the initiators of the project, said 'Boulton was a born promoter and has lessons for us today - it is not only scientists and engineers who are important in introducing new technology, but men such as Boulton, too.'

 

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