Lyricist: Josiah Conder

Lyricist: Josiah Conder

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Josiah Conder (1789 - 1855) sometimes spelt Condor, was the fourth son of Thomas Conder, an active Nonconformist who worked in the City of London as an engraver and bookseller, Josiah was born at his father's bookshop in Falcon Street. His grandfather was Dr John Conder, a Dissenting minister and President of Homerton College.

In his infancy, Josiah lost the vision in one eye due to smallpox. He was sent a few miles north of the City of London to the village of Hackney, for electrical treatment, a technique believed to be able to prevent the disease from spreading further to also cause blindness in his other eye. He recovered, and continued to be educated at a Dissenting Academy in Hackney village under the tutorship of the Reverend Mr. Palmer.

At the age of ten his first essay were published in 'The Monthly Preceptor', and on reaching fifteen, he began work as an assistant in his family's City bookshop. On reaching the age of 21 (in 1811), he took over the family business. A short time later, Josiah married Joan Elizabeth Thomas ('Eliza Thomas'), one of his circle of friends with whom he had initially formed a literary association in 1810 to jointly contribute to the book, The Associate Minstrels. correspondent of Robert Southey and well connected to romantic authors of his day, was editor of the British literary magazine Eclectic Review, the Nonconformist and abolitionist newspaper The Patriot, the author of romantic verses, poetry, and many popular hymns that survive to this day. His most ambitious non-fiction work was the thirty-volume worldwide geographical tome The Modern Traveller; and his best-selling compilation book The Congregational Hymn Book. In religious and political circles he was a prominent London Congregationalist, an abolitionist, and too an active part in seeking to repeal British anti-Jewish laws.

Conder died on December 27th 1855, at St John's Wood, London, following an attack of jaundice, and was buried at the Congregationalists' nondenominational garden cemetery, Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington with a grey, polished granite, chest tomb as his monument. His wife Joan, died in 1877 and is buried with him and other family members.

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