The life of William Cavendish
In the last Thai Terre blog we talked about the history of Eastbourne and the man responsible for creating it: William Cavendish. Now, we’d like to talk a bit more about the man considered to be the father of Eastbourne.
William Cavendish was born on the 27th of April 1808 and in 1829 he married Blanche Georgiana Howard, who bore him four sons and a daughter. Over the course of his life held the titles ‘The Duke of Devonshire’, ‘Lord Cavendish of Keighley’, and ‘The Earl of Burlington’. He was educated at Eton and then Cambridge University, before embarking on a career in politics. Between 1829 and 1834 he sat in the House of Commons as MP for Cambridge University, Malton, and then North Derbyshire; then, when his grandfather died and he succeeded him as Earl of Burlington, he entered the House of Lords.
As well as a political career, Cavendish was also known for his academic pursuits. He was Chancellor of the University of London for a period of twenty years, and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge for thirty, where he endowed the Cavendish Professorship of Physics and the Cavendish Laboratory in honour of his relative, the well-known scientist Henry Cavendish. He was involved with the founding of the Royal Agricultural Society and later became its president, as well as the founding of Eastbourne College, and was a trustee of the British Museum.
Cavendish owned extensive lands in the area now known as Eastbourne, and together with architect Henry Currey was instrumental in the founding of the town in the mid nineteenth century. Cavendish and Currey designed Eastbourne to be the ideal Victorian seaside resort, with baths, parks, open spaces, and gleaming white architecture, and to commemorate his influence a statue of Cavendish can be found in the town, in Devonshire Place.