Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) is one of the most important historic figures associated with Birmingham. He was a leading theologian, natural philosopher, dissenting clergyman and scientist; he was widely credited with the discovery of oxygen. Priestley was a key member of the Lunar Society alongside the likes of Matthew Boulton, James Watt and Erasmus Darwin. His radical social views led the public to view his ideas with increasing dismay. Priestley organised a dinner to celebrate anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. A riot ensued and after burning the town's New and Old Meeting Churches the rioters moved onto Priestley’s home which was torched, destroying his valuable laboratory and all of his family belongings. Soho House are delighted to be able to acquire this remaining possession for display at the museum


Sold at auction on the death of Dr. Joseph Priestley (1733-1804); Mrs Bayard; inherited by her nephew Mr. Bayard; Lady Eliza Priestley & Joseph Priestley, 1898; thence by descent to Monica Loretta Rabagliati; in 2000 passed to Edith Mulligan.

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