The Reverend William Gaskell also known as Bill Gaskell was an English Unitarian minister, charity worker and pioneer in the education of the working class.He was born on 24 July 1805 in Latchford, Cheshire. He passed away on June 12, 1884. Bill's wife was a novelist and a biographer called Elizabeth Gaskell.
William was born in Latchford, a suburb of Warrington and was the eldest of six children.He was tutored by local minister, the Reverend Joseph Saul. He studied at Glasgow University (1820-25), taking his BA and MA in 1825. He then trained for the Unitarian ministry at Manchester New College (1825-28), at that time located in York, where his tutors included Charles Wellbeloved and James Turner.
William's portrait and bust are on display at the new Cross Street Chapel. Gaskell wa
s portrayed by Bill Nighy in the Granada television mini-series, God's Messengers (1994)
Why was he famous?
William Gaskell was famous for his non conformist ways and theology of rejecting the doctrine of original sin.He believed humans to have an innate capacity for good. This belief carried him through his lifelong commitment to charitable and educational projects. Also unlike many of his Manchester contemporaries,William favored social and educational work above political lobbying for free trade or factory reform.
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Image source: elizabethgaskellhouse.org