Irwin, Reverend Clarke Huston (1858-1934)

Lived at 24 High View in 1901 and 18 in 1911 and 1915

He was born in Bandon, County Cork, Ireland.  He was a graduate of the Royal University of Ireland, and was at one time a student at the University of Bonn. He spoke half a dozen languages and could read French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian, Russian and Dutch.  In addition he had edited Gospels from the Bible in nine languages, and corrected proofs of books in the African dialect.

He became Presbyterian minister at Bray, Country Wicklow, in 1881.  In 1892 he translated Meyer’s “Commentary on the Epistles of St John” from German and accepted an invitation to the pulpit of St Andrew’s Church in Melbourne, where he remained for four years, contributing to various religious journals. On his return to England in 1896 he joined the Religious Tract Society, and held in turn positions of assistant secretary, home superintendent, general editor and secretary.  He was a prolific writer and editor, many of the Society’s books passed through his hands.  On the occasion of the Society’s centenary he  organised the centenary fund which raised £74,000.  For some years he was editor of both the “Sunday at Home” and “The Leisure Hour,” and he was also associated at one time with “The Boy’s Own Paper.”  In September, 1931, when he decided to retire, he said that the most consistent of the Society’s best-sellers was the “Pilgrim’s Progress’ which it had issued in 125 languages and dialects.  Religious tracts, had been published in about 11,500,000 and had been circulated in China alone.  Two of his last tasks were the editing of a new issue of “Cruden’s Concordance,” and the preparation of the “Universal Bible Commentary,” for which he wrote introductions.

On August 8t ,1903 it was reported in the Norwood News that a protest against the Education Act was held on behalf of the Norwood district at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Westow Street, Upper Norwood.  Present were Mr W. Carruthers, F.R.S. who presided and his supporters including Reverend C.H. Irwin.  The protesters were not there to force their views as politicians but were there to resist the instrusion of politicians into sacred matters.  It was regretted that in the House of Lords debate the position of conscientious Nonconformists was not in the least appreciated. The issue was the exclusion of Nonconformist teachers, although thoroughly qualified to teach. were banned because not members of the Church of England.

On 24th September 1904 the Norwood News reported  that 93 defendants appeared in court in front of the Croydon Borough Bench to answer a charge of having failed to satisfy the demands of the Borough Rate Collector in protest against the Education Act.  Amongst the 93 were Reverend W. J. Avery from 28 High View Road, and Reverend Charles H. Irwin of 24 High View Road.  They argued was it not unjust, because they happened to differ from the Church of England in their interpretation of the Scriptures, which they held to be  more sacred than the law of England, that they and their children should be prohibited from becoming head teachers in the nation’s schools though, in every other respect, were perfectly well qualified to teach.

He married Anna Adams on October 10th, 1883.  Had a son William Livingstone Irwin on July 19th, 1884, a daughter Elinor Eliza Irwin born on March 19th, 1892.  He lived in High View Road, Upper Norwood from 1901 to 1915.


‘Belfast News Letter’ March 3rd, 1934

‘The Courier-Mail’ (Brisbane), March 3rd, 1934