James Pew (1793 - 1874) was a local politician in the Camberwell area.

Born in Leith, Scotland, Pew became a clerk in the Stores Department of the Tower of London in 1807, aged 14. He took up residence with his grandfather at Camberwell, then a small village in Surrey to the south of London. In 1821 he married Catherine Harriet Mason of Camberwell.[1]

In 1827 he began a long association with the local government of Camberwell when he became parish auditor. In 1829 he became overseer of the poor and in 1830 a member of the workhouse committee. He was one of the main promoters of the Camberwell Local Act of 1833 (3 & 4 Will 4 c.xxxiii) which established a body of elected trustees to administer charitable grants to "aged parishioners", "parishioners in necessitous circumstances, not caused by their own misconduct" (the "Samaritan Gift") and for placing the children of poor parishioners at school.

In 1839 he was appointed vicar's warden, holding the post for nearly three decades. He was one of the first guardians of the poor elected under the Poor Law Amendment Act in 1835, treasurer of the Camberwell Green Coat School, member of the Camberwell Burial Board, a governor of Dulwich College, and chairman of the Camberwell Vestry.

From 1858 - 1866 he represented Camberwell as a member of the Metropolitan Board of Works.

Pew subsequently retired, and spent the winters of his last few years in Italy. He died in Asiago, in the Italian Tyrol, and was buried at Padua.


William Harnett Blanch (1877). Ye Parish of Camberwell. A Brief Account of the Parish of Camberwell its History and Antiquities pp. 186–189. E W Allen.

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