Penkridge Parliamentary History, 1884 to 1910

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Penkridge, in the Western Division after the Third Reform Act, 1884


In the United Kingdom, the Representation of the People Act of 1884 and the Redistribution Act of the following year were a response to the inequality in the electoral system left by Benjamin Disraeli's Reform Act 1867. Taken together, these measures extended the same voting qualifications as existed in the towns and countryside, and essentially established the modern one member constituency as the normal pattern for Parliamentary representation.


Staffordshire was divided into 7 constituencies, each with one MP. (Leek, Western, North Western, Burton, Lichfield, Kingswinford and Handsworth). Penkridge remained in the Western division.


Western Division of Staffordshire had 21 electoral districts: Barkswich, Blymhill, Brewood, Cannock, Bridgtown, Chadsmoor, Five Ways, Hednesford, Littleworth, Cheslyn Hay, Church Eaton, Gnosall, Great Haywood, Hilderstone, Milwich, Penkridge, Seighford, Stafford, Stone, Stowe and Wheaton Aston.



Election Day, December 8th, 1885

Hamar Bass (Lib)                  4,820

Francis Monckton (Con)         4,106


There were 10,636 registered electors and 9,003 voted. There were 77 spoiled papers. It was agreed that the votes of miners from Cannock Chase were instrumental in the Liberal victory.

Hamar Alfred Bass, born 1842, Yoxall, died 1898. Father, Michael Bass had been MP for Derby and head of Bass brewery. Hamar was married to a Bagot. MP for Tamworth, 1878 – 1885,  MP for West Staffs 1885 – 1898. Played 1 first class cricket match, for MCC. Batting average, 3. He died on 8 April 1898 at age 55. He lived in Byrkley Lodge, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

 (For further information on campaign see “The Good Old Grit” by R. Maddocks, p.165.)



Election Day July 5th, 1886


H.A. Bass  (LU) returned unopposed

The Conservatives did not oppose Bass because he had opposed Gladstone’s Home Rule Bill for Ireland, becoming a (LU), Liberal Unionist. The Liberal Unionists split away from the Liberals in 1886, and had effectively merged with the Conservatives by the turn of the century. The formal merger was completed in 1912.




The 1892  general election was held from 4 July – 26 July 1892. It saw the Conservatives, led by Lord Salisbury, win the greatest number of seats, but not enough for an overall majority as William Gladstone's Liberals won many more seats than in the 1886 general election.


Western Division Liberals in total disarray. Taken completely by surprise when W. Staffs. Conservative Association announced they would support Hamar Bass. The president of Bass’ s election committee did not know about it until he read it in the newspaper. Reflected on the “inglorious position of Liberal party” in West Staffs. They had made a great effort to get Bass elected in 1885, “They expected that everything that was good and noble and true would be the result”. “He was sorry to say he had not carried out the hopes and expectations of those who had elected him”.


Kempster, a make shift candidate, a London journalist with 2 failed election campaigns behind him.


H. S. Littleton supports Hamar Bass: “Mr Littleton’s father and grandfather were old-fashioned Whigs, but never could have been Gladstonians and he had Mr Littleton’s permission to say he was a supporter of the Conservative cause and a member of the Conservative Association”. [Chairman of Bass’s meeting at Penkridge]


Bass   (LU)  5227

J. Kempster (Gladstone L) 2879




The  general election of 1895  was won by the Conservatives, led by Lord Salisbury, who obtained a large majority over Lord Rosebery's Liberals


Election Day, 16th July, 1895

Hamar Bass (LU)  returned unopposed




Death of Hamar Bass causes by-election


Election Day, 10th May, 1898

Alexander Henderson  (LU)             4,769

William Adams  (L)    (L)                   3,993              


Alexander Henderson, 1st Baron Faringdon CH (28 September 1850-17 March 1934), known as Sír Alexander Henderson, 1st Baronet, from 1902 to 1916. Faringdon was the son of George Henderson of Langholm, Dumfriesshire. He was elected to the House of Commons for Stafford West in 1898, a seat he held until 1906, and then represented St George's Hanover Square from 1913 to 1916. He was created a Baronet in 1902 and in 1916 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Faringdon, of Buscot Park in the county of Berkshire (now Oxfordshire). In 1917 he was made a Companion of Honour.





The “Khaki” election, won by the Conservative government, exploiting the patriotism engendered by the Boer War.


Election Day, 1st October, 1900

Sir Alexander Henderson  (LU) returned unopposed




The Liberal Party won an astounding victory in the 1906 General Election. In the new Parliament there were 377 Liberals (including the Lib/Labs), 157 Conservatives, 83 Irish Nationalists and 29 Independent Labour Party representatives.


Election Day, 25th January, 1906


H.D. McLaren  (L)    5,586

Alexander Henderson (LU/C) 3,993


Henry Duncan McLaren, 2nd Baron Aberconway CBE (April 16, 1879 – May 23, 1953), , horticulturalist and industrialist. He was educated at Eton and obtained a MA from Balliol College, Oxford. In 1903 he became a barrister of Lincoln's Inn. In 1906 he was elected MP for West Staffordshire as a Liberal, and was Private Under-Secretary to the President of the Board of Trade, David Lloyd George, until 1908. In 1910, he stood for his father's old seat of Bosworth and replaced him. He left politics in 1922, and succeeded his father in the Barony in 1934. McLaren was also a notable industrialist, and chaired companies, including John Brown & Company [From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]


1910  (January)


General election called after Tories in House of Lords reject the Budget. Conservatives recover to two seats behind Liberals, who still have a working majority, however, due to support of Irish and Labour MPs.


George Ambrose Lloyd  (U/C)         5,892

H.D. McLaren  (L)      5,327


The respectable residents of Penkridge, including ladies, were allowed to assemble in front of the residencies of Liberal voters and encourage rowdy youths to throw rotten tomatoes at the windows and doors, and a crowd of men and youths were permitted to remain outside the Liberal Committee room in Market Square all day and insult those who came near the place”. [West Staffordshire Liberal Association, Staffs. Advertiser]


George Ambrose Lloyd, 1st Baron Lloyd, GCSI, KCIE, PC, (1879 – February 4, 1941) was a British Conservative politician strongly associated with the "Diehard" wing of the party. Educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1901 he joined the family firm Stewart and Lloyds Limited, a Birmingham-based steel tubes manufacturer, and was involved with the tariff reform movement of Joseph Chamberlain before serving as an honorary trade consul to the Ottoman Empire. During World War I he served on the staff of Sir Ian Hamilton at Gallipoli landing with the ANZACs on the first day of that campaign and, after a time in Cairo, with T. E. Lawrence and the Arab Bureau in Hejaz, the Negev and the Sinai desert.[ From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]



1910  (December)


The general election of December 1910 was held from 3 to 19 December. It was the last British election to be held over several days. Virtually the same result as in January.


G. A. Lloyd  (U/C)     5,602

W. Meakin  (L)           5,123