Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Hemming, George Wirgman

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HEMMING, GEORGE WIRGMAN (1821–1905), mathematician and law reporter, born on 19 Aug. 1821, was second son of Henry Keene Hemming of Grays, Essex, by his wife Sophia, daughter of Gabriel Wirgman of London. Educated at Clapham grammar school, he proceeded to St. John's College, Cambridge, where in 1844 he was senior wrangler, and first Smith's prizeman, and was elected to a fellowship. He entered as a member of Lincoln's Inn in the same year, but was not called to the bar until 3 May 1850, meanwhile continuing his mathematical studies. His work as a reporter in the chancery courts began in 1859, and continued without a break until 1894. From 1871 to 1875, when he took silk, he was junior counsel to the treasury—generally a stepping-stone to the bench. From 1875 to 1879 he was standing counsel to his university, and was appointed a commissioner under the Universities Act, 1877. As a Q.C. he practised before Vice-chancellor Bacon, and in 1887 was appointed an official referee. Elected a bencher in 1876, he in 1897 served as treasurer of Lincoln's Inn. He died at 2 Earl's Court Square, South Kensington, on 6 Jan. 1905, and was buried in old Hampstead church.

Hemming married in 1855 his second cousin Louisa Annie, daughter of Samuel Hemming of Merrywood Hall, Bristol, and had four sons and four daughters. Of these the eldest son, Harry Baird (b. 1856), is law reporter to the House of Lords; a daughter, Fanny Henrietta (1863–1886), exhibited at the Royal Academy.

A water-colour sketch of Hemming when a young man, in fancy dress, by his lifelong friend, Sir John Tenniel, and a miniature exhibited at the Royal Academy by his niece, Edith Hemming, belong to the family.

Hemming wrote ‘An Elementary Treatise on the Differential and Integral Calculus’ (Cambridge, 1848; 2nd edit. 1852); ‘First Book on Plane Trigonometry’ (1851); and ‘Billiards Mathematically Treated’ (1899; 2nd edit. 1904). He published ‘Reports of Cases adjudged in the High Court of Chancery, before Sir William Page Wood’ for 1859–62 (2 vols. 1861–3, with Henry Robert Vaughan Johnson); and for 1862–65 (2 vols. 1864–5, with Alexander Edward Miller). On the establishment of the council of law reporting, Hemming acted as an editor of the ‘Equity Cases’ and ‘Chancery Appeals,’ subsequently merged in the chancery division series of the ‘Law Reports.’

He was a regular contributor to the ‘Saturday Review,’ from which a pamphlet on the ‘Fusion of Law and Equity’ was reprinted in 1873.

[The Times, 7 Jan. 1905; Foster, Men at the Bar; Neale, Honours Reg. of University of Cambridge; Law Journal, 14 Jan. 1905; private information.]

C. E. A. B.