Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th earl of, 1801–85, English social reformer. He was known as Lord Ashley until 1851, when he succeeded his father as earl. Entering the House of Commons in 1826, he became a leading advocate of government action to alleviate the injustices caused by the Industrial Revolution. Notable legislation introduced by him included acts prohibiting employment of women and children in coal mines (1842), providing for care of the insane (1845), and establishing a 10-hr day for factory workers (1847). He promoted the building of model tenements and the "ragged schools" for waifs.
See biographies by J. L. Hammond and B. Hammond (4th ed. 1936), G. F. Best (1964), and G. Battiscombe (1975).