- Thomas Guy
Thomas Guy (1644-1724) was a British bookseller, speculator and de facto founder of
Guy's Hospital, London
Thomas Guy was born a son of a , wharf owner and coal-dealer at
Southwark. In 1668, after eight years as an apprenticeof a bookseller, he began his own bookstore in Lombard Street. At first he sold Bibles that were poorly printed in England so he imported them from the Netherlands. Eventually he gained a privilege of printing them from the University of Oxford and became book publisher.
Guy had a reputation as a miser, mainly because a rival bookseller John Dunton accused him of paying low wages and refusing to help the charities. In fact, Guy was a stock speculator. He invested in government
securitiesand bought shares to the value of £42,000 in Britain's official slave-trading organisation, the South Sea Company. In 1720 he successfully sold his stock of the company with the prize ranging £300-600 per share and amassed a large fortune. During the British wars against the Louis XIV of France, Guy successfully speculated in seamen's pay tickets.
ponsor of hospitals
Despite his reputation, Guy did provide for charities. In 1678 he gave money to almshouses at
Tamworth, his mother's birthplace, and also represented that town in parliament from 1695 to 1707.
In 1704 Guy became a governor of St Thomas' Hospital. In 1707 he had built three wards and supported the hospital afterwards. In 1725 Guy opened the Guy's Hospital opposite to Thomas' Hospital at a cost of £18,793, 16 shillings.
Thomas Guy died unmarried on
December 17 1724. His will left £219,499 to the Guy's Hospital. He also gave Christ's Hospitalan annuity of £400. The rest of his estate, about £80,000, went to distant relatives.
In 1995, 271 years after his death, a new dual carriageway by-passing
Tamworthwas named Thomas Guy Way in his honour.
*"A True Copy of the Last Will and Testament of Thomas Guy, Esq." (London, 1725)
*J. Noorthouck, "A New Hist, of London," vol. iii. ch. i. p. 684 (1773)
*Nichols, "Literary Anecdotes," iii. 599 (1812)
*Charles Knight, "Shadows of the Old Booksellers," pp. 3-23 (1865)
*S. Wilkes and G. T. Bettany "A Biographical History of Guy's Hospital," (1892).
* Jane Bowden-Dan - "Mr Guy's Hospital and the Caribbean" ("History Today" June 2006)
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