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William Howell Davies

William Howell Davies: “

Graham Lippiatt: [[WP:AES|←]]Created page with ‘Sir (William) ”’Howell Davies”’ (13 December 1851 – 26 October 1932) was a Welsh born [[leather]] merchant and [[Liberal Party (UK)|Liberal]] politician. ==Fam…’

Sir (William) ”’Howell Davies”’ (13 December 1851 – 26 October 1932) was a Welsh born [[leather]] merchant and [[Liberal Party (UK)|Liberal]] politician.

Davies was born in [[Narberth, Pembrokeshire|Narberth]] in [[Pembrokeshire]], the son of Thomas Davies. He was educated privately. In 1882 he married Ada Mary Hosegood, the daughter of a [[Bristol]] [[Justice of the Peace]]<ref>”Who was Who”, OUP 2007</ref>. Lady Davies died in 1948 at the age of 91<ref>The Times, 10.2.48</ref>. They had one son and three daughters. Their son was [[Lt-Col]]. Owen Stanley Davies [[Distinguished Service Order|DSO]] who died in 1926 of wounds he received in the Great War, having undergone many operations. By religion Davies was a [[Methodist|Wesleyan Methodist]]<ref>”Minutes of Several Conversations at the Yearly Conference of People Called Methodists”, published by the Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1908</ref>.

Davies moved to [[Bristol]] and established himself in the leather trade, eventually becoming a highly successful [[tannery]] owner and leather merchant employing a large workforce<ref>David J Jeremy, ”Religion, Business, and Wealth in Modern Britain”; Routledge, 1998 p.75</ref>. He also acquired directorships and was a Director of the UK Temperance and General Provident Institution<ref>The Times, 13.4.33</ref>.

==Local politics==
Like many successful [[Victorian]] and [[Edwardian]] businessmen, Davies was eager to serve his community through municipal politics and at the same time provide himself a stepping-stone to further advancement. He first joined [[Bristol City Council]] in 1884 and was made an [[Alderman]] in 1889. He was elected [[Mayor]] of Bristol in 1896. He served for a time as Leader of the Liberal Party on Bristol City Council and was sometime President of the [[Chamber of Commerce]]<ref>”General Election, Wales & Monmouthshire 1906 – a Souvenir”: Liberal Party, 1906;</ref>. During his time on the Council Davies acquired extensive Municipal experience being Chairman of Bristol Docks Committee between 1899 and 1908 and was Chairman during the construction of, and at the time of the opening of the Royal Edward Dock which was formally opened by [[King Edward VII]] in July 1908. Davies was also Chairman of Bristol Finance Committee, 1902–29. For more than 46 years Davies took a leading role in political life of the city of Bristol and in 1908 he was [[knighted]] for municipal services in the King’s birthday honours list<ref>The Times, 27.10.32</ref>.

==Parliamentary politics==
Davies first stood for [[Parliament]] at the [[United Kingdom general election, 1900|general election of 1900]], the so-called [[Khaki election]]<ref>John Latimer, ”The Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century (concluded) 1887-1900”; W George’s Sons, 1902 p,97</ref>. He had been adopted as the Liberal candidate for [[Bristol South (UK Parliament constituency)|Bristol South]] before the sitting MP (Sir Edward Stock Hill) had decided to retire<ref>The Times, 18.9.00</ref>. His [[Conservative Party (UK)|Conservative]] opponent was [[Walter Hume Long]].

Long won that election and even though the political tide had turned decisively against them by the time of the [[United Kingdom general election, 1906|1906 general election]] the Conservatives believed they would hold Bristol South, evenly if only narrowly<ref>The Times, 12.1.06</ref>. However Bristol South was one of many unexpected gains for the Liberals in their 1906 general election landslide victory. The Liberals took three of the four Bristol seats at the election and as late as 14 January, Liberal [[Chief Whip]],[[Herbert Gladstone]] had confidently expected Walter Long to hold on in Bristol South<ref>A K Russell, ”Liberal Landslide: The General Election of 1906”; David & Charles, 1973 p.153</ref>. However Davies beat Long with a majority of 2,692 votes<ref>The Times, 11.1.10</ref>. He held the seat at the next election in [[United Kingdom general election, January 1910|January 1910]] albeit by the narrow margin of 271 votes<ref>The Times, 12.11.10</ref>. As a consequence, Davies expected a hard fought contest at the [[United Kingdom general election, December 1910|December 1910 election]]. Divisions in the Bristol Unionist ranks may have helped divert Tory attentions from the real fight. H Chatterton who had stood for the Conservatives in January 1910 was dropped by the Tories in favour of a different candidate and decided to put himself forward as an Independent Unionist, only withdrawing from the election at the last moment<ref>The Times, 30.11.10</ref>. In the end Davies was able to hold his seat over the new Conservative candidate J T Francombe with a majority of 138<ref>The Times, 5.12.10</ref>.

Davies never held ministerial office but he was appointed to the important Parliamentary [[Select Committee (Westminster System)|Select Committee]] on National Expenditure in 1920.

At the [[United Kingdom general election, 1918|1918 general election]] Davies was the representative of the Coalition government and was opposed only by [[Labour Party (UK)|Labour]] candidate T C Lewis, over whom he had a majority of 7,352 votes. He stood down from Parliament at the [[United Kingdom general election, 1922|1922 general election]] but continued to play a part in Liberal politics, representing the South West on the National Liberal Council<ref>The Times, 26.1.23</ref>.

Davies died at Bristol on 26 October 1932<ref>The Times, 27.10.32</ref>.


{{DEFAULTSORT:Davies,William Howell}}
[[Category:Liberal MPs (UK)]]
[[Category:UK MPs 1906-1910]]
[[Category:UK MPs 1910-1918]]
[[Category:UK MPs 1918-1922]]
[[Category:Members of the United Kingdom Parliament for English constituencies]]
[[Category:1851 births]]
[[Category:1932 deaths]]
[[Category:Liberal Party politicians (UK)]]

(Via Wikipedia – New pages [en].)

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