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brownEdward Brown was born in 1851 an died on August 8th, 1939. At the family home near Newcastle on Tyne, an early interest in poultry was stimulated by a magazine illustration of domestic fowls by Harrison Weir. This led him to breed Brahmas (very popular at the time) and then Brown Leghorns. Although successful as an exhibitor, Mr Brown was among those who were critical of the mal-practices and corruption that were widespread at poultry exhibitions, and which had not been brought under control by the Poultry Club, formed in 1864. In an effort to improve matters, in 1977 he was involved in a re-launch of the Poultry Club and in the formation of the Northumberland and Durham Poultry and Pigeon Association.


An attempt in 1879 to found and edit a new journal in Newcastle, the Fanciers' Chronicle, failed within a year. However, in 1880, following the departure of Lewis Wright from editorship of the Live Stock Journal, Mr Brown was invited to edit its 'Minor Livestock' section and he moved to London. This lunched him on a career in journalism focused on poultry.
Edward's Brown interest had always been concentrated on the egg and meat production potential of poultry and this led to his involvement in the formation of the Utility Poultry Society (later the National utility Poultry Society) in 1896 and to the first laying trials in 1897. The need for better training also received his attention and he became a teacher. The first 'Poultry School' (which lasted 3 weeks) was held in Whittlesea, Cambridge in 1894. Other such 'schools' followed and led, in 1896 to the establishment of a poultry course at the University College of Reading's farm at Theale, Berkshire. Up to the time of its closure 14 years later (due to lack of financial backing) 600 students were to pass through the course. Meanwhile, in 1899 also at Reading, Mr Brown organised the first National Poultry Conference in the UK (what has been described as the first International Congress of Poultry was held in St. Petersburg, Russia in the same year).
In 1908, in the United States, the International Association of Poultry Instructors (to become the Poultry Science Association) was established at Cornell University. Initially, it is believed, the term 'international' was not intended to mean 'world', just the United States and Canada. However, in 1910, Professor James Rice (the first Professor of Poultry Husbandry) and by then President of the Association, wrote to Mr Brown suggesting the formation of a truly international organisation. This led to a meeting in London of 19 individuals from 14 countries at which this objective was achieved, the names being transferred from the North American to the world body. (It was not until 1938 that the name was changed to the World's Poultry Science Association.) Mr Edward Brown was named President - a post he was to hold for 15 years - and Dr Raymond Pearl (USA) Secretary. The first major meeting, planned for 1916, was deferred due to the 1914-1918 war. Thus, the 1st World's Poultry Congress was held at the Hague, Netherlands in 1921. For a more detailed account of the history of WPSA, and the role played by Edward Brown, see Jasper, A.W. (1978) - The World's Poultry Science Association - WPSJ Vol. 34, No. 1: 9-21 and also Brown, E. (1934), Memories at Eventide, published by John Dixon, Burnley, Lancs.
In 1920, Edward Brown became president of the newly formed National Poultry Council for England and Wales. The policy of this organisation included 'promotion of education and investigational work', the 'awarding of Certificates and Diplomas' and 'the raising of the standards of instruction and instructors'. As a result, in the same year, the (British) National Poultry Diploma Board was established, followed in 1926 by the National Poultry Institute Scheme with centres for teaching at Harper Adams Agricultural College and for research at six other locations. Much of the money needed was raised by public subscription, inspired by Mr Brown.
Over his lifetime, and always with an emphasis on the practical, Edward Brown wrote 21 books and published reports ranging from Practical Artificial Incubation (1879), Profitable Poultry Keeping, written under the pen name, Stephen Beal (1883) and Poultry Keeping as an Industry for Farmers an Cottagers (1891), which ran to 18 editions, to British Poultry Husbandry: its Evolution and History (1930) and his memoires cited above. His reports on the poultry industries of America, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Sweden and Wales, serve to indicate his interest in travel which had been undaunted when, as a 14 year old attempting his first visit abroad, he was shipwrecked at Whitby, Yorkshire on his way to Antwerp.
Recognition of Edward Brown's contribution to the world poultry industry included the conferring of Honorary Doctor of Laws by McGill University, Quebec in 1927 and in the same year, investment as Chief Bear Head of the Sarcee Tribe of Indians, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In 1930 he was made a Knight of the British Empire, Sir Edward having come to be regarded as the father of the British poultry education and science.

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