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Barker, George (1776-1845) (DNB00)

BARKER, GEORGE (1776–1845), benefactor to Birmingham, was born in 1776. Notwithstanding his arduous duties as a solicitor, he devoted a large portion of his time both to scientific pursuits and to benevolent and social enterprises. He exerted himself with great energy to extend the advantages of the General Hospital, in behalf of which he was one of the chief promoters of the Birmingham musical festivals. He was the founder of the Birmingham Philosophical Society, and by his lectures on chemistry gave a considerable impetus to certain special manufactures. From the first he took a special interest in the inventions of Watt and Boulton; and it was chiefly owing to his exertions that an act was obtained for that ‘gigantic absurdity,’ as it was called, ‘the Birmingham railway.’ In recognition of his scientific acquirements he was in 1839 elected a member of the Royal Society. He died 6 Dec. 1845. His statue in marble is in the General Hospital.

[Gent. Mag. new ser. xxv. 324–5.]

T. F. H.