Sir Edward William Fithian (1845-1936)
Sir Edward William Fithian by Walter
Stoneman, 1916. (NPG Ax39108)
'Among the honours conferred in connection with the King's birthday is a knighthood for Mr. E.W. Fithian, secretary of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom, and a native of Heywood. Sir E.W. Fithian is the son of Mr. William Fithian, formerly a bookseller in Heywood and Manchester, and afterwards of London, and he was born at Heywood on February 24th, 1845. He was educated at the Manchester Grammar School, Owens College, and King's College, London, and is a barrister, having been called to the bar in November, 1879.
In his Bibliography of Heywood Mr. J.A. Green says that he was secretary of the Commons Preservation Society for many years, and one of the secretaries of the Royal Commission on Tonnage. lie has written a number of articles for papers and magazines on commercial, legal, and temperance topics, and he was the founder and editor of the Social Review, a paper specially devoted to the question of the housing of the working classes. Sir Edward Fithian compiled in 1866 a valuable series of "Extracts from the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wimbledon (1461-1864)." There were only 200 copies printed at two guineas each. According to Who's Who, "He was the first chairman of the Bushey (Herts) Parish Council; one of the delegates from the Association of Chambers of Commerce of the Empire at Montreal, Canada, 1903.
President Loubet conferred on him in July, 1903, the French decoration of Officier de Instruction Publique in recognition of services for the promotion of friendly relations between the United Kingdom and France." The value of this decoration is thus referred to in the Manchester Evening News of Tuesday, June 27th, 1905:- "It is interesting to note that the decoration of Officier do l'Instruction Publique which was conferred on Mr . Owen, the conductor of the Besses-o'th'-Barn Band, is the second of its kind which has been conferred by the French President on an Englishman in connection with the entente cordiale. It is one of the most important French orders outside the Legion of Honour. The other wearer of the little blue button is the man who induced M. Cainbon to persuade his Government to negotiate the arbitration treaty which was brought into existence two or three rears ago - Mr. E.W. Fithian, secretary of the Association of Chambers of Commerce. The wearing of foreign orders by British subjects is a privilege very severely restricted. The consent of the King is necessary in every case, and his Majesty guards very carefully against the abuse of the privilege."Edward died in London in 1936.