Sir James Whitehead, 1st Baronet

Sir James Whitehead, 1st Baronet

Sir James Whitehead, 1st Baronet (2 March 1834 - 20 October 1917) was a British merchant and Liberal Party politician.

Whitehead was born at Bramhall, near Sedbergh in Yorkshire. He was educated at the grammar school in Appleby-in-Westmorland, and was apprenticed as a draper in Kendal. He made his way to Bradford and then London, and married Mercy Mildred Hinds in 1860. He established a business on Gresham Street.

Having made his fortune, he retired from business in 1881 and concentrated on civic service. He became Alderman for Cheap ward in the City of London in 1882, and served as Sheriff that year. He was Master of the Worshipful Company of Fanmakers in 1884, and also served as Under-Sheriff of London and Middlesex that year. He was Lord Mayor of London in 1888-9. He replaced the circus-like Lord Mayor's Show with a State Procession, and was arbitrator in the London Dock Strike of 1889. He also represented England at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. He was created a baronet on 26 November 1889, as Baronet Whitehead of Culham, Berkshire.

He also did charitable works. He erected a statue of Sir Rowland Hill in 1879, and established the Rowland Hill Benevolent Fund for aged and distressed Post Office workers. He also named his son Rowland. He was Chairman of the Visiting Justices of Holloway Prison, Visitor of the City of London Asylum at Stone, Buckinghamshire, a committee member of Christ's Hospital, a Governor of Queen Anne's Bounty, Lord Lieutenant for the City of London, and a Justice of the Peace in Westmoreland and in Kent. He became an Honorary Visitor at Borstal Prison in 1898.

He stood for Parliament in the Appleby division of Westmoreland in the general elections in 1885 and 1886. He was elected as Member of Parliament for Leicester in the general election in 1892. He was a Liberal Party and supported William Gladstone. He was in favour of Irish home rule, reform of the House of Lords, and disestablishment of the Church of England. He served only two years as MP, resigning by becoming Steward of the Manor of Northstead in 1894.

He was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Statistical Society, and a member of the International Peace Association and the Reform Club

Two of his sons, Sir George Whitehead, 2nd Baronet, and Sir Rowland Whitehead, 3rd Baronet, inherited the baronetcy.

His papers are held by the archives of the Houses of Parliament.


* ['WHD/2') The Whitehead Papers 1826-1953] held by Parliament
* [ The History of Wilmington Hall]
* [ Biography]

External links

* [ Portraits] at the National Portrait Gallery

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