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Edward Theophilus Nelson (1874–1940) by unknown photographer, 1912 [detail] courtesy of Trafford Local Studies Centre


Nelson, Edward Theophilus (1874–1940), barrister and local politician, was born on 22 October 1874 in Georgetown, Demerara, British Guiana, the first son of Philip Nelson, a builder. Details of his mother are not known. Edward Nelson was of African descent, whose antecedents in the British colony had been freed from slavery in 1838, but not from the struggle for economic and social improvement. Progress was difficult, but the development of elementary schools and compulsory education from 1876 was beneficial to some. The cost of fees for secondary schooling was prohibitive for most Guianese, but by the 1880s a few scholarships for the most gifted pupils were available. In 1894 the first Guianese of African descent won a scholarship to attend a British university, despite the objections of the local sugar planters who dominated the colony. ...