Who was Hugh?

Statue of Hugh Stowell Brown in Hope Street, Liverpool

On Hope Street in Liverpool you can stand and look up at the statue of Hugh Stowell Brown, the subject of my biography: Hugh Stowell Brown, A Ready Man, which is being published by Instant Apostle. But who was Hugh?

Hugh Stowell Brown was born in Douglas on the Isle of Man in 1823, the son of a Church of England minister and the brother of T E Brown the national poet of the Isle of Man.

After working in England as an engineer he started to train to follow his father’s footsteps as an Anglican minister, but he knew in his heart he was more inclined to the beliefs of the Baptists. He gave up his training and his looked for another calling.

Hugh Stowell Brown aged 24

He was soon asked to speak as a visiting preacher at Myrtle Street Baptist Church in Liverpool, and afterwards called to be their minister at the age of 24, with little experience or training. For the next forty years he served the same church and his reputation soared as a preacher, lecturer, scholar and man of the people.

Over the years he served the poor of the town by working for better housing, against drunkeness and for the seafaring community. He started a Workman’s Bank – a savings bank for poorer people. He served his church as president of the Baptist Union and he was a friend and mentor to the ‘Prince of Preachers’ C H Spurgeon.

Brown was best known for his public lectures. On Sunday afternoons he would speak in a public hall about topics of general interest that appealed to “working people” – those who were often not seen in the “respectable” churches. Thousands came to hear him. When he died many thousands mourned his passing and attended his funeral.

the broken statue

The statue raised in his honour by public subscription was placed outside his church on the corner of Hope Street in Liverpool. When the church was demolished it was moved to Toxteth, then later removed and lost. After it was rediscovered in 2007 a campaign to restore it led to it being placed once more on Hope Street as a lasting memorial to the great man, a Liverpool hero.

My book about the man and his statue: Hugh Stowell Brown, A Ready Man, is being published by Instant Apostle and will be available in Autumn 2019.

Silent Night 200 years

December 2018 marked 200 years since the first performance of the world’s favourite carol, Silent Night. The words had been written a couple of years earlier by Joseph Mohr and on Christmas Eve 1818 he asked his friend Franz Xaver Gruber to write a simple tune for his words. The song was to be sung at the end of mass by Mohr and Gruber in their village church in Oberndorf near Salzburg, Austria.

In December 2018 I went to Oberndorf to find out the origins of Silent Night. Here’s my thoughts as I stood outside the chapel.
Click on the words SILENT NIGHT to listen.

Here’s some videos I made on my trip to Oberndorf.

Christmas traditions – music

The fourth in this audio series, originally broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester, in December 2018 is about Christmas music, from carols to wassailing to cheesy pop. Wayne is in conversation with Rebecca Kelly of BBC Radio Manchester. Click on the word MUSIC below to listen to the audio, or click …

Christmas traditions – gifts

The third in this audio series, originally broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester in December 2018, is about the traditions of giving presents at Christmas and Father Christmas. Wayne is in conversation with Rebecca Kelly of BBC Radio Manchester. Click on the word GIFTS below to listen to the audio, or …

Christmas traditions – decorations

The second in this audio series, originally broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester, in December 2018 is about the traditions of Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree. Wayne is in conversation with Rebecca Kelly of BBC Radio Manchester. Click on the word DECORATIONS below to listen to the audio, or click …

Christmas traditions – food

The first in this audio series, originally broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester in December 2018, is about the traditions of Christmas food. Wayne is in conversation with Rebecca Kelly of BBC Radio Manchester. Click on the word FOOD below to listen to the audio, or click on Download to.. well, …

Christmas Podcasts Top Ten

Best Christmas Podcasts As a fan of all things Christmas, and as a fan of podcasts, I love listening to Christmas podcasts. Some of these are about the history of Christmas, some are about the films and songs of Christmas, and some are just Christmas music. Some only come back …