Joseph Priestley

Scientist, Minister and Thinker

Joseph Priestley is perhaps the best known individual associated with the Academy. He is now more known as a great scientist but as a lecturer he introduced the subjects of chemistry, anatomy and civic responsibility to the curriculum of the academy. He was however primarily a Minister and was both ordained and married at Cairo Street Chapel. His belief that Jesus was an ethical teacher and not a God influenced greatly the development of Unitarianism. A supporter of the French Revolution and a campaigner against slavery he left England after his home and chapel in Birmingham were burnt by a mob. After leaving England and settling in America in 1794, he established the first American Unitarian Church in Philadelphia.