I have to confess that I had never heard of Andrew Mearns until someone contacted me looking for information on him. Here is what little I have on him and any additions would be welcome.
Andrew Mearns was born at Burnside in 1837. He was the son of John Mearns and his wife Agnes nee Hyslop. I believe he left New Cumnock at an early age and the family settled in Glasgow where he attended Glasgow normal school and then Glasgow University.
He entered the Theological Hall of the United Presbyterian Church in Edinburgh in 1860 and completed his training in 1863. Andrew Mearns accepted a position in the Congregational Church in Great Marlow, London. He served as pastor of the new Congregational Church in Markham Square, Chelsea.
In October 1883 he was responsible for the publication of the penny pamphlet The Bitter Cry of Outcast London. An Inquiry into the Condition of the Abject Poor
This caused a furore at the time and it has been argued that the document did more to advance the fight against poverty than any previous document. The document was written anonymously and another Congregational Minister claimed it was his work. Mearns then found himself in a fight to establish ownership which he eventually was able to do.
He retired in 1906 and moved to Burnham-on-Sea where he remained active until his death in 1926.
For further information and a modern view of what the article was all about, read Professor Barbara Leckie’s academic study below.