William Pitt Byrne
William Pitt Byrne (c. 1806 – 6 or 8 April 1861) was a British newspaper editor and proprietor of The Morning Post.
His father Nicholas Byrne was his predecessor as editor and proprietor of the Morning Post, about whom there is little biographical information in the historical record. Nicholas Byrne took a strongly pro-Tory editorial stance, and his son was named after William Pitt the Younger. He was mysteriously attacked by a masked intruder around 1833 and never fully recovered, dying of his injuries about two years later.
His mother was the Gothic novelist Charlotte Dacre, who had three children with Nicholas: William Pitt Byrne (born 1806), Charles (born 1807) and Mary (born 1809); however the children were not baptised until 1811 and Nicholas and Charlotte did not marry until 1 July 1815. William Pitt Byrne was baptised on 8 Jun 1811 at St. Paul's, Covent Garden.
He married the writer Julia Clara Busk on 28 April 1842. Her books were sometimes attributed to "Mrs. William Pitt Byrne", and for this reason some sources (particularly online book sellers) mistakenly attribute authorship of her books to her husband.
He broadened the focus of the Morning Post from being a mostly political journal by including more general topics. He ended his connection with the paper prior to his death to follow literary pursuits, contributing to leading journals.
Memorial fountain and tomb
After his death, his wife and friends built a memorial fountain in his name in 1862 or 1863, at the south end of Bryanston Square in London; the fountain is still in existence and is a Grade II listed monument. The fountain has an associated plaque.
- "Byrne, William Pitt (BN824WP)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Charlotte Dacre. Kim Ian Michasiw, ed. Zofloya: or The Moor (Oxford World's Classics). Oxford University Press. pp. xi–xii. ISBN 0-19-954973-7.
- "Charlotte Dacre c. 1772-1825?". enotes.com. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- "Drinking Fountain, Bryanston Square: erected in memory of the late William Pitt Byrne, M.A.". The Builder. 21: 653–654. 12 September 1863. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
- "Julia Pitt Byrne". jss.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- Sidney Lee, ed. (1901). "Byrne, Julia Clara". Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 364–365.
- Cooper, Thompson (1884). "Byrne, Mrs. William Pitt". Men of the Time (eleventh ed.). London: George Routledge & Sons. p. 202.
- "William Pitt Byrne Memorial Fountain, Paddington". British Listed Buildings Online. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- "William Pitt Byrne". Plaques Of London .co.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
- Obituary in The Times, 10 April 1861, cited in Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses.