Joseph Strutt (Engraver and author)
Mill House, adjacent to Riverside Inn (erected 2012)
Joseph Strutt, a miller’s son, was born in 1749 at Mill House, adjacent to Springfield Mill, now Riverside Inn, on Victoria Road. He was educated at the King Edward VI Grammar School, where a house is named in his honour.
At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to an engraver in London where he was a star pupil. He subsequently became a well-regarded artist, antiquarian, engraver and author.
In 1801, Joseph Strutt produced his most important and famous book “The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England” with over 400 pages illustrated with 140 of his own engravings.
It’s been said that the book influenced the revival of the modern Olympic Games. This is because we know that the book was one of the influences on Dr William Penny Brookes in his decision to start the Much Wenlock Games in 1850. The Much Wenlock Games were, in turn, an influence on Baron Pierre de Coubertin who started the modern Olympic movement in 1896.
Strutt died in 1802 and was buried at St Andrews, Holborn. His grave is one of a large number that were subsequently re-interred at Manor Park, when the Holborn Viaduct was built. He is therefore buried only a short distance away from the 2012 London Olympic Park at Stratford.