Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury was born on 28th April 1801 at 24 Grosvenor Square, London. He didn’t have a very happy childhood. He hardly saw his parents and he had an unpleasant time at the school. He did get on well with the housekeeper, Maria Mills. She used to tell him stories from the Bible to cheer him up when he was unhappy. In 1826 Shaftesbury became a Tory Member of Parliament. He was a supporter of the Duke of Wellington.
Shaftesbury was heavily involved in reforming lunatic asylums in Britain helping to provide better care and treatment of the insane. He was also one of the key individuals responsible for bringing about reform of Britain’s factories, improving working conditions and limiting the length of the workday.
Shaftesbury was president of the Ragged School Union, promoting the education of poor children.
He died on 1st October 1885, aged 84.
Lord Shaftesbury was known as the Reforming Lord Shaftesbury and the Poor Man’s Earl, because many of the reforms he championed helped the poor and the working class of Victorian Britain.