Marble sculpture on a memorial to William Beckett
St Peter, Kirkgate, Leeds
Photographs, caption, and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2011.
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An angel and two children, representing Charity, stand atop a tall base bearing a relief of William Beckett (1784-1863). This memorial in the parish church is touchingly appropriate for Beckett, who was an eminent banker from a wealthy local family, and who gave handsomely and regularly to local charities. As an MP first for Leeds and then for nearby Ripon, he warmly supported factory reform and the repeal of the Corn Laws in the 1840s (see Victorian Legislation: A Timeline). He funded several schools, and left many charitable bequests. Although he died in Brighton and was buried at Kensal Green cemetery in London, his passing was widely mourned in Leeds (see Taylor 506-09). Compare this allegorical depiction of Charity with a later one by Sir George Frampton, which emphasises maternal love.