Edward Benn (1798 - 1874):
Antiquarian and philanthropist
Edward Benn was born in Tandragee, County Armagh, and began working in the brewing trade with his brother George in Downpatrick, County Down. They then moved to Glenravel estate where they distilled potatoes. In 1837 he was a member of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, and he bequeathed his collection of antiquities to it. He wrote many papers, including 'Objects in Glass'. He, along with his brother George, established the Belfast Hospital for Diseases of the Skin in Glenravel Street in 1875; the Benn Ulster Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital; and the Samaritan Hospital. His donation allowed Royal Belfast Academical Institution to open a school of mathematics, and another donation enabled the Poorhouse in Clifden Street to build two new wings.