Baddeley, Mountford John Byrde (DNB12)

BADDELEY, MOUNTFORD JOHN BYRDE (1843–1906), compiler of guide-books, born at Uttoxeter on 6 March 1843, was the second son of three children of Whieldon Baddeley, solicitor, of Rocester, Staffordshire, by his wife Frances Blurton Webb. His elder brother, Richard Whieldon Baddeley (1840-76), was the author of several novels and a volume of poems 'The Golden Lute.' (1876), which was published posthumously. After education at King Edward's grammar school, Birmingham, Baddeley obtained a classical scholarship at Clare College, Cambridge, and matriculating in October 1864, graduated B.A. with a second class in the classical tripos in 1868. In 1869 he was appointed assistant master, and subsequently house master, at Somersetshire College, Bath. From 1880 to 1884 he was assistant master at Sheffield grammar school. Retiring from school work, Baddeley then settled at The Hollies, Windermere, and later removed to Lake View Villas, Bownese. Intimately acquainted with the Lake district and keenly interested in local affairs, he was chairman of the Bowness local board until its dissolution in 1894, and identified himself with movements for preserving footpaths and for popularising the Lake district as a pleasure resort. On his initiative sign posts were placed by the Lakes District Association on mountain paths, and a flying squadron of young members was organised to report periodically on the condition of the passes. The new road from Skelwith bridge to Langdale, and the drive along the west side of Thirlmere, which was completed by the Manchester corporation in 1894, were largely due to Baddeley's active intervention. He was opposed to the multiplication of railways or of local industries. From 1884 to 1906 Baddeley, who was an untiring walker through most parts of England and a close observer of nature, mainly occupied himself with preparing the ‘Thorough Guide’ series of guide-books for Great Britain and Ireland. The series opened with the ‘English Lake District’ (1880; 11th ed. 1909). In ‘South Wales’ (1886; 4th ed. 1908), ‘North Wales,’ 2 parts (1895; 8th ed. 1909), and ‘South Devon and South Cornwall’ (1902; 3rd ed. 1908) he collaborated with the Rev. C. S. Ward. Remaining volumes include: ‘Glasgow’ (1888; 3rd ed. 1900); ‘Yorkshire,’ 2 parts (1893; 5th ed. 1909); ‘Scotland,’ 3 parts (1894): part i. ‘The Highlands’ (11th ed. 1908); part ii. ‘The Northern Highlands’ (7th ed. 1906); part iii. ‘The Lowlands’ (5th ed. 1908); ‘The Isle of Man’ (1896; 2nd ed. 1898); ‘Ireland,’ part i. (1897; 6th ed. 1909); ‘The Peak District’ (1899; 9th ed. 1908); ‘Orkney and Shetland’ (1900; 6th ed. 1908); ‘Liverpool’ (1900); ‘Bath, Bristol and forty miles around’ (1902; 2nd ed. 1908). Baddeley's guides were accurate, concise and practical. He had the gift not only of describing natural scenery but of forming a comparative estimate of its beauty. He paid special attention to the needs of the pedestrian. Though an enthusiastic mountaineer he deprecated hazardous adventure.

Baddeley died on 19 Nov. 1906, at his house at Bowness, of pneumonia, which he contracted on a visit to Selby while revising one of his Yorkshire volumes; he was buried at Bowness. In 1891 he married Millicent Satterthwaite, daughter of Robert Henry Machell Michaelson-Yeates of Olive Mount, Windermere, who survived him without issue. In 1907 a clock tower was erected at Bowness in his memory by public subscription from friends and admirers in all parts of the British Isles.

[The Lakes Chronicle, 28 Nov. 1906; Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 24 Nov. 1906; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Concerning Guide Books, by Claude E. Benson, art. in Cornhill Mag., September 1910; private information.]

G. S. W.