Hood, Edwin Paxton
b Half Moon St, Piccadilly (or ?Hanover Square), C London 1820, d Paris 1885. Son of one of Nelson’s seamen and a domestic servant, he was orphaned at the age of 6 and had no formal schooling. But in his twenties he was a travelling speaker in the joint causes (not often linked) of peace and temperance. In 1852 he was ordained and began an effective ministry of over 30 years, first at the Congregational Church at N Nibley, nr Wotton-under-Edge, Glos. In 1857 he moved to Islington, Middx (now N London) as pastor of the Offord Rd church, and in 1862 to the large church at Queen Square, Brighton. His 10 years there attracted overflowing congregations who valued his persuasive preaching. In 1873 he returned briefly to Islington before moving to Cavendish Street Ch in Manchester; his resignation after a few years was triggered by hostility to his denunciation of Disraeli’s foreign policy. Like his contemporary Spurgeon (qv) he was a political Liberal. After visiting America his final charge was with the congregation meeting at Falcon Square, just off Aldersgate in the City of London. Among other wide-ranging concerns was his support for the new Hospital for Incurables; like Spurgeon he features briefly in Kate Summerscale’s best-selling The Suspicions of Mr Whicher (2008), chs 16 and 17.
His own voluminous writing included biographies of Carlyle and Cromwell, and a colourful and pungent account of Thomas Binney (qv; 1874) which amply reflected his own similar nonconformist views, fiercely anti-establishment, admiring but critical of his subject, and overlapping with his Lamps of the Temple (originally anonymous) from 1851. As elsewhere, he wrote strongly there against ‘Church of England-ism’. His romantic and occasionally florid or melancholy Fragments of Thought and Composition (50 items, 1852), dedicated to the then celebrated Samuel Rogers, included several more personal verses, some highly sentimental, and 3 ‘temperance’ pieces. For 8 years EPH edited The Eclectic Review, and he wrote many children’s hymns, commended in Julian for their freshness and simplicity. Our Hymnbook (1862) was a further fruit of his Brighton years and another Spurgeon parallel. He died suddenly while travelling towards a planned holiday in Italy. No.663.