Born: 1830, Altrincham, Manchester, England.
Died: December 21, 1903, Hampstead, Middlesex, England.
Buried: Hale, Cheshire, England.
Brooke was the son of John and Sarah Herford.
He received his early education in Manchester, at the school of John Relly Beard.
At age 14, he left school and went into his father’s counting house for four years.
As he became engaged with the local Sunday School, and at the Mosley Street Mission School, he eventually decided upon the ministry as a career. At age 18, he enrolled at Manchester New College (now at Oxford, but then at Manchester).
At age 21, he began preaching at Todmorden, Yorkshire and, as his college would not support him, he withdrew from school to be a full time minister.
After five years at Todmorden, he moved to the Upper Chapel, Sheffield, and nine years later, to Strangeways Free Church in Manchester. He spent 11 years there, also tutoring at the Home Missionary College.
He then moved to America to become pastor of the First Unitarian Society in Chicago, Illinois (1874–91).
He also served as corresponding secretary (1878–79) and president (1880–81) of the Chicago Literary Club; pastor of the Arlington Street Church, Boston, Massachusetts (1882–92); and on the faculty of Harvard University, before returning to England in 1893.