James Agg-Gardner

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Sir James Tynte Agg-Gardner JP (25 November 1846 in Cheltenham – 9 August 1928 in Carlton Club) was an English brewery-owner and Conservative Party politician from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. An early supporter of women's suffrage, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for the Cheltenham constituency for four separate periods between 1874 and 1928, serving a total of 39 years in Parliament in which he made only two speeches in the House of Commons.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Cheltenham, where his father James Agg-Gardner, Senior (1804–58) had purchased the lordship of the manor in 1843. After his father's death, James Junior was brought up as a ward of court, and educated at Harrow School and then privately. He matriculated to Trinity College, Cambridge,[2] but instead of starting his studies he contested the 1868 general election in Cheltenham, but failed to win the seat. He then studied law, and in 1873 he was called to the bar at the Middle Temple. However, he never practised law, concentrating instead on his business interests and his political career. He was a magistrate from 1875.

Political career[edit]

Agg-Gardner was first elected as Cheltenham's MP at the 1874 general election, but was defeated at the 1880 general election. He was re-elected in 1885 and held the seat until he stood down at the 1895 election, possibly for reasons related to his homosexuality.[3] He was returned unopposed at the 1900 general election, but was defeated in the 1906 general election. He did not stand again until a by-election in April 1911, after which he held the seat until death in 1928.

In the House of Commons chamber, he was a rare and poor speaker, but served for most of his career on the Commons Kitchen Committee, which he chaired from 1917. In that role, he supervised the daily tea on the terrace, and was known affectionately as the "Minister of the Interior".[1] He sponsored the parliamentary bill which conferred borough status on Cheltenham, and 1896 was made the first freeman of the borough. He also introduced bills on fire escapes (1891) and hire purchase (1928).

He was knighted in 1916,[4] and appointed as a Privy Councillor in 1924.[5] By the time of his death in 1928, aged 81, he was the oldest serving Member of Parliament, having sat with ten Prime Ministers from Disraeli to Baldwin. However, because he was not continuously an MP, he did not hold the title of Father of the House.

Publications[edit]

  • Gardner, James Agg, Sir (1927). Some Parliamentary Recollections by the Right Honourable Sir James Agg-Gardner, PC, MP. London: E. J. Burrow. British Library shelfmark: 010855.bb.54. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Milestones: August 20, 1928". Time. 20 August 1928. Retrieved 10 July 2008. Registration required. 
  2. ^ "Agg-Gardner, James Tynte (AG865JT)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ Richard Davenport-Hines (15 November 1998). "No longer outraged". The Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29671. p. 7093. 18 July 1916. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 32906. p. 1261. 8 February 1924. Retrieved 2007-12-11.London Gazette: 8th February 1924

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Samuelson
Member of Parliament for Cheltenham
18741880
Succeeded by
Charles de Ferrieres
Preceded by
Charles de Ferrieres
Member of Parliament for Cheltenham
18851895
Succeeded by
Francis Shirley Russell
Preceded by
Francis Shirley Russell
Member of Parliament for Cheltenham
19001906
Succeeded by
John Edward Sears
Preceded by
Richard Mathias
Member of Parliament for Cheltenham
19111928
Succeeded by
Sir Walter Preston
Preceded by
Sir Henry Craik
Oldest Member of Parliament
1927–1928
Succeeded by
T. P. O'Connor