WILLIAM TORRENS M'CULLAGH TORRENS (1813-1894), English politician and social reformer, son of James M'Cullagh (whose wife's maiden name, Torrens, he assumed in 1863), was born near Dublin on the 13th of October 1813. He was called to the bar, and in 1835 became assistant commissioner on the special commission on Irish poor-relief, which resulted in the extension of the workhouse system in Ireland in 1838. In the 'forties he joined the Anti-Corn Law League, and in 1846 published his Industrial History of Free Nations. In 1847 he was elected to parliament for Dundalk, and sat till 1852. In 1857 he was elected as a Liberal for Yarmouth and from 1865 to 1885 he represented Finsbury. Torrens was a well known man in political life, and devoted himself mainly to social questions in parliament. It was an amendment of his to the Education Bill of 1870 which established the London School Board, and his Artisans' Dwellings Bill in 1868 facilitated the clearing away of slums by local authorities. He published several books, and his Twenty Years in Parliament (1893) and History of Cabinets (1894) contain useful material. He died in London on the 26th of April 5894.
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