Sir James Timmins Chance (1814-1902)

JAMES TIMMINS CHANCE was born on March 22, 1814, being the oldest son of Mr. William Chance, of Birmingham. From an early age he showed evidence of unusual talent, studying with success not only mathematics and natural science, in which subjects he gained high honours at the London University (now University College), but also classics and modern languages, and even Hebrew. At the age of nineteen he proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge, and graduated in 1838 as Seventh Wrangler. He also began the study of law, entering as a student of Lincoln's Inn in 1836. But circumstances obliged him, immediately on leaving Cambridge, to enter the glass-making firm of Chance Brothers & Co., in which his father was a partner, and he remained himself a partner therein for fifty years, being head of it for twenty-five. Apart from this work, he interested himself greatly in social questions, particularly in the promotion of education; and he was a liberal and constant donor in a great many directions, his two principal benefactions being the gift and endow-ment of a public park at West Smethwick and the foundation of the 'Chance School of Engineering' at Birmingham University. He was for many years a director of the London and North-Western Railway, Served the office of High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1868, and in later years was a valued member of the Council of University College. He received his baronetcy on the occasion of the last distribution of Birthday Honours by the late Queen. He died at his residence at Hove, Sussex, on January 6, 1902.