Blue plaque plan for Preston's St Wilfrid building in honour of Brother Edmund Rice

The founder of a worldwide Christian brotherhood is to be honoured with a blue plaque on a Preston building.

Monday, 11th December 2017, 8:36 am
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 11:05 pm
The building in Fox Street where Brother Edmund Rice set up a Catholic school in 1825. It already bears a blue plaque to Rev Joseph Dunn

Brother Edmund Rice set up a Catholic school in Fox Street in 1825 and went on to open 12 communities in England, 11 in Ireland and one in Australia before his death in 1844. The Congregation of Christian Brothers is still teaching around the world today and counts such notables as actors Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne, poet Roger McGough and former BBC director general Lord Birt amongst its old boys.

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A planning application has been submitted to the city council to honour the missionary and educationalist with a nameplate on the front wall of the St Wilfrid’s Building, which already has another blue plaque in memory of Rev Joseph Dunn, the man who first invited the brotherhood from Ireland to Preston.

A heritage statement to the council says: “The importance of recognising Brother Edmund Rice is to commemorate a holy and human celebrity, known throughout the world for his works of charity and justice for the disadvantaged poor, whose vision extended beyond his native land, starting with Preston to embrace the whole world.”

Edmund sent his first Brothers outside Ireland to set up the school in Preston. The Fox building was eventually extended to include a Novitiate for training postulants to the Brotherhood, who went on to found schools across England, including London, Manchester and Liverpool.