About “A Ready Man”

The book “A Ready Man, Hugh Stowell Brown, Preacher, activist, friend of the poor” is published by Instant Apostle on September 19th 2019. Here’s the lowdown on the book and what’s in it.

“A Ready Man” is the first biography of Hugh Stowell Brown, a nineteenth-century Baptist minister in Liverpool. He was renowned in his time for his public speaking. He was skilled church preacher. He was a lecturer on academic disciplines that included church history and public affairs. But he was best known for his talks to the working people of Liverpool on down-to-earth and practical matters.

Hugh was also a prominent figure in various social causes. He supported the maritime workers of his day. He campaigned for better housing. He spoke and campaigned for better controls on the supply of alcohol. He set up a “Workman’s Bank”, allowing poorer people to save their money and control their spending.

Hugh was born and brought up in the Isle of Man and the book starts by telling the story of his early life as the son of a Anglican vicar in Douglas and then in Braddan in an island community, where he expreinced poverty but had the privileges of a good education and a Christian upbringing.

The book then goes on to tell of how Hugh tested a call to go into the Anglican ministry, but first set out in a career as a surveyor and an engineer in England. In Stony Stratford he met the woman he would go on to marry and the man who would baptise him when he decided he was by conviction a Baptist.

The book tells the surprising story of how the death of father led to him abandoning his best-laid plans but ending up as minsiter at Myrtle Street Baptist Church in Liverpool. Through careful research from the Church’s minute books we chart the growth of the church in the time Hugh was its minister. The Church became not only large itself, but forceful in planting other churches in Merseyside and Cheshire as the reputation of its minister grew.

Hugh Stowell Brown aged 24

The book tells of Hugh’s wider life and ministry. It tells of his year as President of the Baptist Union in 1878. There’s an account of his friendship with the “Prince of Preachers” CH Spurgeon and how Hugh was asked to preach on baptism at the first baptism service at Spurgeon’s new church, the Metropolitan Tabernacle. There’s also a chapter about his life-changing trip to America and Canada.

Hugh didn’t speak or write much about his family life but he was married twice and both his wives died before him. With his first wife, Alice, he had eight children. One chapter of the book pieces together the story of his adult family life and the various homes where he lived with Alice and his second wife, Phoebe, who was also the sister of his son in law and biographer William Caine.

When Hugh died in 1886 it seemed like the whole of Liverpool and the region grieved at his death. Thousands lined the streets for his funeral. The book tells in detail how he was mourned and remembered.

Soon there was a call for a statue to be raised in memory of Hugh. The book tells how the statue was commissioned and crafted then placed in front of his church on Myrtle Street, Liverpool. Whn the church was demolished in the early 1940’s the statue was moved to Toxteth and its story became more complicated. The book tells for the first time how the statue was vandalised, taken down and lost, then found through the efforts of the author and eventually restored and reinstated close to where it originally stood.

“A Ready Man” is the account of remarkable man, whose life still resonates in our modern world. It’s the story of man and his statue which is fascinating, illuminating and inspiring. It was ten years in the writing and is now available for you to read and share.

Chapters in the book.
Here’s the contents page of the book “A Ready Man”

Acknowledgements……………………………………………………. 9
Introduction …………………………………………………………….. 13
1: His Early Days ……………………………………………………… 15
2: The Working Man ………………………………………………… 32
3: The Call to Ministry ……………………………………………… 48
4: Coming to Liverpool …………………………………………….. 64
5: Church Life ………………………………………………………… 78
6: The Concert Hall Lectures …………………………………… 105
7: Public Life ………………………………………………………… 127
8: His American Adventure ……………………………………. 151
9: National Recognition ………………………………………….. 161
10: His Home Life …………………………………………………… 173
11: His Death and His Legacy …………………………………. 190
12: What He Believed ……………………………………………… 204
13: The Statue …………………………………………………………. 219
Appendix: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish ……………….. 234
Bibliography …………………………………………………………… 252
Hugh Stowell Brown Timeline ………………………………….. 254
Index ……………………………………………………………………… 261

Buy the book online here from Hive, supporting local bookshops

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