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Henry Fowler, 1st Viscount Wolverhampton


Dec 17, 2021

Henry Hartley Fowler, 1st Viscount Wolverhampton, GCSI, PC (16 May 1830  25 February 1911) was a British solicitor and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1880 until 1908 when he was raised to the peerage. A member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, he was the first solicitor and the first Methodist to enter the Cabinet or to be raised to the peerage.[1]

British politician

The Viscount Wolverhampton
Secretary of State for India
In office
10 March 1894  21 June 1895
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Rosebery
Preceded by The Earl of Kimberley
Succeeded by Lord George Hamilton
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
10 December 1905  13 October 1908
Monarch Edward VII
Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman
H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Sir William Walrond, Bt
Succeeded by The Lord Fitzmaurice
Lord President of the Council
In office
13 October 1908  16 June 1910
Monarch Edward VII
George V
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by The Lord Tweedmouth
Succeeded by The Lord Beauchamp
Personal details
Born (1830-05-16)16 May 1830
Sunderland, County Durham. England
Died 25 February 1911(1911-02-25) (aged 80)
Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Ellen Thorneycroft
Children Ellen, Edith, and Henry

. . . Henry Fowler, 1st Viscount Wolverhampton . . .

Fowler was born in Sunderland, the son of Rev, Joseph Fowler. He was educated at Woodhouse Grove School, Apperley Bridge, Bradford (1840–42) and later at St. Saviour’s Grammar School, Southwark.

He moved to Wolverhampton and was admitted as a solicitor in 1852. He served as a local councillor and was Mayor of Wolverhampton in 1866. He was chairman of Wolverhampton School Board in 1870, and was a Deputy Lieutenant for Staffordshire and JP for Wolverhampton.[2]

At the 1880 general election Fowler was elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for the borough of Wolverhampton,[3] a seat he held until the borough was divided under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885.[4] He then was then returned at the 1885 general election as the MP for Wolverhampton East,[5] and held that seat until he was ennobled in 1908.[6] He served under William Ewart Gladstone as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department from 1884 to 1885, as Financial Secretary to the Treasury in 1886 and as President of the Local Government Board from 1892 to 1894 and under Lord Rosebery as Secretary of State for India from 1894 to 1895.[7] In 1886, he was sworn of the Privy Council.

Fowler later held office under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1905 and 1908. The latter year he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Wolverhampton, of Wolverhampton in the County of Stafford,[8] and served under Asquith as Lord President of the Council until 1910.[7] He was widely thought of as a future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but his ill health prevented this.

In his approach to policymaking, according to Neil Smith, Sir Henry Fowler (who became Viscount Wolverhampton in 1908) was supportive of reform legislation in the areas of pensions, education, and the Poor Law.[9] According to his private secretary, however, he did not have “the patience to suffer Radical and Labour members gladly.”[10]

He was an elected President of The Law Society 1901–02.[11]

Lord Wolverhampton died on 25 February 1911, aged 80.

. . . Henry Fowler, 1st Viscount Wolverhampton . . .

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. . . Henry Fowler, 1st Viscount Wolverhampton . . .