Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Flower, Edward Fordham

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FLOWER, EDWARD FORDHAM (1805–1883), author, younger son of Richard Flower, a brewer, banker, agriculturist, and breeder of sheep, was born at Marden Hall, Hertfordshire, on 31 Jan. 1805. Benjamin Flower [q. v.] was his uncle. At the age of twelve he went with his father to Illinois, United States, but returning in 1824 he in 1827 married Celina, eldest daughter of John Greaves of Radford House, near Leamington, and, settling at Stratford-on-Avon, opened a brewery in 1832, which was so successful that in thirty years he was able to retire and leave the business to his sons. He four times held the office of mayor of Stratford, the last occasion being in 1864, the year of the Shakespeare tercentenary. In this celebration he took a leading part, and was well known to all visitors to Shakespeare's birthplace, more especially to Americans, many of whom he hospitably entertained at his residence, The Hill, built in 1855. As a liberal he contested Coventry in 1865, and North Warwickshire in 1868, but was not elected. In 1873 he removed his residence to London, and being a great lover of horses he spent the remainder of his life in an endeavour to mitigate the sufferings caused by the use of improper harness, tight bearing-reins, and gag-bits. In these efforts he was to a certain extent successful. He died at 35 Hyde Park Gardens, London, 26 March 1883, and his widow Celina died 2 March 1884, aged 79. He left three sons, Charles Edward Flower, William Henry Flower, C.B., LL.D., F.R.S., director of the Natural History Department, British Museum, and Edgar Flower. The books he published were: 1. ‘A Few Words about Bearing Reins,’ 1875. 2. ‘Bits and Bearing Reins,’ 1875; seventh edition, 1886. 3. ‘Horses and Harness,’ 1876. 4. ‘The Stones of London, or Macadam v. Vestries,’ 1880.

[Bits and Bearing Reins, 1886, pp. 3–15, with portrait and memoir; Victoria Mag. May 1878, pp. 67–8, with portrait; Illustrated London News, 7 May 1864, p. 453, with portrait; Times, 27 March 1883, p. 7.]

G. C. B.