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John Clifford, (1836–1923): Liberal, Socialist, Free Churchman, Companion of Honour

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This paper provides background and context for a day conference marking the centenary of the death of the Revd John Clifford, a leading British Baptist minister of the late 19th and early 20th century. Brought up in a working class home on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border, Clifford was trained at the Leicester General Baptist College, and spent his entire ministry at Praed Street/Westbourne Park Baptist Church in West London. There he studied at the University of London, gaining outstanding results in several Bachelor’s degrees. He campaigned successfully to bring the Baptist Union and the New Connexion of General Baptists together in 1891. As President of the Baptist Union in 1888–89, he was involved in the Union’s handling of the ’Downgrade Controversy’ that had led to the withdrawal of C.H. Spurgeon (who remained a friend) from the Baptist Union, but did not secure his return. The later part of his career was dominated by the Education controversy, particularly in the passive resistance campaign in which many nonconformists refused to pay their education rate under the 1902 Education Act.



4303 Historical Studies, 50 Philosophy and Religious Studies, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology

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Baptist Quarterly

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Informa UK Limited