Scudamore, Frank Ives (DNB00)

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SCUDAMORE, FRANK IVES (1823–1884), post-office reformer and writer, the son of John Scudamore, solicitor, of an old Herefordshire family [see Scudamore, John, first Viscount Scudamore], by his wife Charlotte, daughter of Colonel Francis Downman, R.A. and niece of Sir Thomas Downman [q. v.], was born at Eltham in February 1823, and educated at Christ's Hospital. Sir Charles Scudamore, M.D. [q. v.], was his uncle. On leaving school he at once entered the post office (1841), and, on the amalgamation of the receiver-general's and the accountant-general's offices in 1852, was appointed chief examiner of the united department. In 1856 he became receiver and accountant general, and while holding that post was, after George Chetwynd of the money-order office, mainly instrumental in the elaboration of the scheme for government savings banks. Scudamore explained the proposed machinery to Mr. Gladstone, who, as chancellor of the exchequer, warmly adopted his scheme, and obtained the necessary authorisation from parliament in 1861. He wrote several small tracts to explain and popularise the inducements to thrift which the savings banks offered. A treasury minute of 5 July 1866 testified to the value of his services to this and to the kindred schemes of government insurance and annuities. In 1865 he drew up a report upon the advisability of the state acquiring the telegraphs (which were then in the hands of a few private companies) upon the lines of a scheme first suggested by Mr. F. E. Baines. Throughout a series of delicate negotiations Scudamore was employed as chief agent, and it was mainly due to his exertions that the way was prepared for the acts of 1868 and 1869; the first entitling the state to acquire all the telegraphic undertakings in the kingdom, and the second giving the post office the monopoly of telegraphic communication. In 1870 the Irish telegraphs were successfully transferred to the post office by Scudamore, under whose directions they were completely reorganised and brought into one harmonious system. In the meantime he had been promoted assistant secretary (1863) and soon afterwards second secretary of the post office, and in 1871 he was made C.B. Later on, his eagerness for progress and impatience of obstacles led to some conflict of opinion, which was terminated by his resignation in 1875. Among other changes made by Scudamore was the introduction of female clerks into the postal service, every department of which for at least ten years before his resignation had been indebted to his energy and administrative ability. He afterwards accepted an offer of the Ottoman government to go to Constantinople to organise the Turkish international post office, and projected some useful reforms; the sultan conferred on him the order of the Medjidieh in 1877; but when, after interminable delays, Scudamore found that his projects were not seriously entertained, he gave up his post. He continued to live at Therapia, and found relaxation in literary work. His talent was shown as early as 1861 by one of his happiest efforts, a lecture on the fairies, entitled ‘People whom we have never met.’ Another diverting volume contains his papers, entitled ‘The Day Dreams of a Sleepless Man,’ London, 1875, 8vo. His somewhat casual and allusive style appears to less advantage in ‘France in the East; a contribution towards the consideration of the Eastern Question’ (London, 1882), which is a plea for the good intentions of France in south-eastern Europe, and denounces the policy of preserving the integrity of the Ottoman empire. He also wrote largely in ‘Punch’ and in the ‘Standard,’ the ‘Scotsman,’ the ‘Comic Times,’ and other papers. He died at Therapia on 8 Feb. 1884, aged 61, and was buried in the English cemetery at Scutari. He married, in 1851 Jane, daughter of James Sherwin, surgeon, of Greenwich, and left issue.

[Times, 9 Feb. 1884; Ann. Reg. 1884; Kelly's Upper Ten Thousand, 1875; Baines's Forty Years at the Post Office; Spielmann's History of Punch, p. 361; private information.]

T. S.