1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mayhew, Henry

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MAYHEW, HENRY (1812–1887), English author and journalist, son of a London solicitor, was born in 1812. He was sent to Westminster school, but ran away to sea. He sailed to India, and on his return studied law for a short time under his father. He began his journalistic career by founding, with Gilbert à Beckett, in 1831, a weekly paper, Figaro in London. This was followed in 1832 by a short-lived paper called The Thief; and he produced one or two successful farces. His brothers Horace (1816–1872) and Augustus Septimus (1826–1875) were also journalists, and with them Henry occasionally collaborated, notably with the younger in The Greatest Plague of Life (1847) and in Acting Charades (1850). In 1841 Henry Mayhew was one of the leading spirits in the foundation of Punch, of which he was for the first two years joint-editor with Mark Lemon. He afterwards wrote on all kinds of subjects, and published a number of volumes of no permanent reputation—humorous stories, travel and practical handbooks. He is credited with being the first to “write up” the poverty side of London life from a philanthropic point of view; with the collaboration of John Binny and others he published London Labour and London Poor (1851; completed 1864) and other works on social and economic questions. He died in London, on the 25th of July 1887. Horace Mayhew was for some years sub-editor of Punch, and was the author of several humorous publications and plays. The books of Horace and Augustus Mayhew owe their survival chiefly to Cruikshank’s illustrations.