Sir George Grove, 1820-1900
Sir George Grove, after receiving his education at the Clapham Grammar School, was trained to be a Civil Engineer, specialising in lighthouses. Between 1847-49 he was employed on the staff of Mr. Robert Stephenson, who was then engaged on the construction of the great tubular bridge across the Menai Straits in North Wales. In 1849, he succeeded Mr. Scott Russell as Secretary of the Society of Arts.
In 1852 he became Secretary to the Crystal Palace Company - a position which he held for 21 years. It was at this time that he was asked by Dean Stanley to compile a 'Vocabulary of Hebrew Topographical Words' for his book, Sinai and Palestine. The research which he undertook for this work convinced him that far too little was known of the geography of the Holy Land, and the need for a detailed modern map and accurate description of the country. However, he found very little support for the foundation of a society to carry out this work. As a result of his work on Hebrew place names, he was asked to write a number of articles for Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, which appeared in 1863. During this period also he established his reputation as a music critic by his masterly analyses of classical orchestral music for the famous Saturday concerts at the Crystal Palace. In 1858 he made his first trip to Palestine, which increased his enthusiasm for his work on the subject of Biblical toponymy.
From 1882 to 1894 he was director of the Royal College of Music and from 1891-1893 President of the College of Organists.
The foundation of the Palestine Exploration Fund was primarily due to Grove's active campaigning. Through his efforts the founding Committee included such luminaries as the Dukes of Argyll, and Devonshire and the Earls of Derby and Shaftesbury and Earl Russell, the Archbishop of York amongst other distinguished clergy, A.H. Layard, M.P., Sir Henry Rawlinson, Dr. Joseph D. Hooker, from the world of science and scholarship, Dr. William Smith, W. Spottiswood, and John Murray from the world of publishing. Additionally, Grove was able to gain the support of Sir Moses Montefiore, perhaps the most important public figure in the Anglo-Jewish community of the day, on the basis that this was a purely non-sectarian scientific society dedicated to the study of the shared Judaeao-Christian heritage.
From the foundation of the Fund until 23 July 1866 Grove was Honorary Secretary of the Fund.