Lycett, Sir Francis

Businessman and philanthropist, born in 1803 at Worcester. The glove-making firm of Dent & Allcroft prospered under his direction and he retired, a wealthy man, in 1865. A sheriff of London (1866), he was knighted in 1867. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament as a Liberal candidate on five occasions between 1868 (at Worcester) and 1878 (againat Worcester). He had also been one of three Liberal candidatsd to nominate for the two-seat constituency of Southwark in January 1870, but withdrew his nomination following a party arbitration process triggered by concern re the risk of three competing Liberal nominees splitting their party's vote to the extent that one or both seats went to opponents.

A member of the Islington society, he gave large sums to WM causes, particularly through the Metropolitan Chapel Building Fund and through his will. In 1870 he offered £50,000 for fifty new chapels. He was one of the founders of The Leys School, Cambridge and a trustee of Wesley's Chapel. He was elected one of the two Sheriffs of London and Middlesex for the year 1866-67 and appointed George Thomas Perks as his chaplain. (This is thought to be the first time a Methodist minister had held that post.) He was one of seven Wesleyans elected to the first London School Board in 1870.

He died in London on 29 October 1880. Lycett Memorial Church, Stepney (1883) was built in his memory.

'Sir Francis Lycett's munificent gift of a quarter of a million towards the erection of new chapels and for the establishment of the Metropolitan Chapel Fund... I read recently that it was aid, at an annual meeting in town, that the 'London Mission had saved Methodism in London'. I do not believe it. To a great extent it was saved by the generosity, wise statesmanship, and great earnestness of Sir Francis Lycett and his compeers, with the blessing of God, in the extension of our borders. The Thanksgiving Fund, and the Twentieth Century Million Guinea Fund, which came later, were wonderful in their contribution towards the great work.'

Charles H. Kelly, Memories (1910) p.176

  • G.J. Stevenson, Methodist Worthies (1884-1886), 4 pp.580-83