George Grote (1794-1871) was born in Beckenham, Kent, and although he started his formal education at the young age of five, his father ended his education at the age of fifteen and Grote began working at the family bank, Prescott and Grote, in Threadneedle Street, London. He found banking tiresome, but continued on there for thirty-three years, while pursuing his main interests of philosophy, politics, and the literature of Greece and Rome on the side. His friends included David Ricardo, James Mill, and Jeremy Bentham, and these friendships led him to publish his first work in 1821, 'Statement of the Question of Parliamentary Reform', as well as other works advocating changes in Britain's government. Grote was elected a member of parliament for the City of London in the first reformed parliament after the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832 and was widely regarded as leader of the radicals in parliament, as well as being a proponent for secret voting in elections. After leaving politics in 1841, Grote published the twelve-volume 'History of Greece', which was well-received and a commerical success and was used at English universities. During the last twenty years of his life, Grote was involved with the British Museum, University College, London, and the University of London, as well as receiving honourary doctorates from Oxford University (1853) and Cambridge University (1861). He was also made a foreign member of the Institut de France (1864) and a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1871, he contracted kidney disease, which ultimately led to his death in 1871 in London and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Presented by Mrs George Grote (widow), 12 Mar. 1873.