William Brighty Rands

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William Brighty Rands
Born(1823-12-24)24 December 1823
Chelsea, Middlesex, England
Died23 April 1882(1882-04-23) (aged 58)
East Dulwich, London, England
Pen nameMatthew Browne, Henry Holbeach, T. Talker.
Period19th century
GenreChildren's Literature

William Brighty Rands (24 December 1823, Chelsea, Middlesex — 23 April 1882, East Dulwich, London) was a British writer and one of the major authors of nursery rhymes of the Victorian era.


A son of a modest candlemaker's family, he attended school from 8 to 13 years of age, and was mostly self-taught, starting to read early and mastering Latin, Greek, and after starting an office career with an international merchant, also Spanish and French. His appreciation of languages he carried through life, studying Chinese in his latest years.

In 1857, he started working as a reporter in the House of Commons for Messrs. Gurney & Co. and was praised for being very helpful. He wrote his works for children when the Parliament was not sitting. In 1875, he resigned due to poor health.

He wrote under pseudonyms, among them Matthew Browne, Henry Holbeach, and T. Talker.

He was for some time a regular preacher in a chapel at Brixton, and composed several popular hymns, that as well as his nursery rhymes continued their legacy in several editions throughout the 19th century.

He is also remembered for the 2-volume monography of "Chaucer's England".

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