John Baskerville

Mr John Baskerville was a writing master, gravestone engraver, japanner and printer active, particularly in Birmingham, England, in the 18th century and is noted especially for the typeface he designed for his press. He was born 28 January 1706 at Sion Hill Hall, Wolverley, Worcestershire, England and died on 8 January 1775.

As an atheist, Baskerville stipulated in his will that he should be buried in unconsecrated ground in the conical base of a disused windmill in his own garden. However, when a canal needed to be built through the garden, his body was disinterred in 1820. It was then briefly put on display for its good preservation and later removed to a plumber's shop for storage, then, in 1829 it was moved to the crypt of Christ Church, Birmingham (demolished 1898), before finally being laid to rest in the consecrated catacombs beneath the chapel at Warstone Lane Cemetery in 1898 (chapel demolished 1953, vaults still intact).

Sources:

'Famous Brummies', Virtual Brum < http://www.virtualbrum.co.uk/people.htm > [accessed 18 December 2008]

Mosley, James, 'Baskerville, John (1706–1775)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004 < http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/1624 > [accessed 18 December 2008]

Zuckerman, Joan, The Birmingham Heritage (London: Croom Helm, 1979), pp. 68-70.

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