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Sir John Fielding (1721-1780), Magistrate and social reformer

Sitter in 10 portraits
Blinded at the age of 19 in a navy accident, Sir John Fielding set up his own business and studied law. The blind magistrate and social reformer worked with his half-brother and fellow magistrate, the novelist Henry Fielding, to raise standards of honesty and competence amongst those engaged in the administration of justice. At his half-brother's death in 1754, he was appointed magistrate at Bow Street in his place, becoming renowned as the 'Blind Beak', and allegedly being able to recognise 3000 criminals by the sounds of their voices. He carried on his ideas on the prevention of robbery and campaigned to provide employment for distressed youths. He was knighted in 1761.

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