Philanthropist. Born Massachusetts, USA, descended from English immigrants to America. A merchant businessman who moved into banking, in partnership with J. S. Morgan and became extremely wealthy. First came to the UK in 1827. He never married but had a mistress and daughter in Brighton to whom he was generous during his lifetime but they did not figure in his will.
His philanthropy in America was focussed on education and in Britain on housing. In 1862 he created The Peabody Donation Fund and the first Peabody model housing block was opened in Spitalfields, followed soon by buildings in Chelsea, Bermondsey, Islington, and Shadwell. The Fund, now 'Peabody', continues to provide housing.
Peabody died at a friend's home at 80 Eaton Square. His will required that he be buried in his home town but first he was given a state funeral in Westminster Abbey and then his body was ceremonially shipped across to America where he was buried in the family tomb that he had himself built, at his home town that had, in 1868, been renamed Peabody.
London Details has a good post on this man and his statue.