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Pioneer of Industrial Revolution Honoured at Abbey

Friday, 17th October 2014

Pioneer of Industrial Revolution Honoured at Abbey

A memorial to the 18th century Birmingham industrialist, Matthew Boulton FRS was dedicated in the Chapel of St Paul, Westminster Abbey, on Friday 17th October 2014.

Matthew Boulton (1728 –1809) was one of the most important figures of the early Industrial Revolution. He was a man of wide-ranging talents: silversmith, button and buckle manufacturer, steam engineer, coin minter, entrepreneur, Fellow of the Royal Society and one of the founder members of the famous Lunar Society of Birmingham. He was a the business partner of James Watt, pioneer of the use of steam engines, who is memorialised in the Chapel of St Paul.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding:

We come to add another illustrious name, that of Matthew Boulton of Birmingham, to the long list of distinguished men and women from the United Kingdom and from overseas who are buried or memorialised in Westminster Abbey.
Here, alongside the kings and queens, noblemen and women, and the shrine of our own saint, the scientists and inventors, novelists and playwrights, poets and actors, politicians and public servants, founders and benefactors, churchmen and women, will henceforth be a memorial to one of the great manufacturers, an early industrial revolutionary, a generator of wealth that enabled so much other achievement.
James Watt was given a memorial 189 years ago, within a few years of his death, in St Paul's Chapel near the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor, behind the High Altar. Now an omission will be corrected. Matthew Boulton, without whom his achievements might not have been recognised, will be memorialised beside his business partner.

Councillor Shafique Shah, Lord Mayor of Birmingham, read Isaiah 61: 1-4 and Dr Colin Brown, Director of Engineering, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, read Revelation 21: 1-7.

The Address was given by Sir Nicholas Goodison.

Marion Roberts, Chair 2007-10, The Lunar Society, invited the Dean to receive the memorial into the safe custody of the Dean and Chapter. Wreaths were laid by Jacob Pearson and Ellie Coleman, students at the Matthew Boulton College, Birmingham.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Sacrist of Westminster, and said by: the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham; Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha, Birmingham; Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader, Birmingham City Council; Muhammad Afzal, Birmingham Central Mosque and the Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon in Residence.

The service was sung by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir conducted by James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Daniel Cook, Sub-Organist, and before the service by Martin Ford, Assistant Organist.

See also:

The Order of Service (PDF,408  KB)

The Address was given by Sir Nicholas Goodison

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I feel very privileged to work here. I take so much pride in working for a beautiful place like the Abbey, it’s unique.


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