The Martineau Family were a political dynasty from Birmingham, England. Several members were particularly successful in civic affairs. They were also prominent Unitarians; to the extent that a room in London's Essex Hall, the headquarters building of the British Unitarians, was named after them. Other Unitarian dynastic families in Birmingham were the Kenricks and the Chamberlains, with much intermarriage occurring between them.
Mayors of Birmingham
- Robert Martineau (1798–1870), Mayor of Birmingham, 1846–47
- Sir Thomas Martineau (1828–1893), Mayor of Birmingham, 1884–87
- Ernest Martineau (1861–1952), Lord Mayor of Birmingham, 1912–14
- Sir Wilfrid Martineau (1889–1964), Lord Mayor of Birmingham, 1940–41
- Denis Martineau (1920–1999), Lord Mayor of Birmingham, 1986–87
Martineau family of Norwich
The Norwich Martineaus came from a Huguenot immigrant background, and were noted in the medical, intellectual and business fields. They were initially Calvinist dissenters, who brought their children up as bilingual in French and English. The founder, Gaston Martineau, was a surgeon in Dieppe, and moved to Norwich after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes of 1685. His grandson David Martineau II (1726–1768) was the third generation of surgeons, and had five sons who made up the male line of Martineaus. By the fourth generation the family was divided into Anglicans and Unitarians.
The eldest of the five sons was Philip Meadows Martineau (1752–1829), surgeon and "one of the most distinguished Lithomists of his day". Apprenticed to the surgeon William Donne, who was noted for skill in lithotomy, he became a medical student at a number of universities, then returned in 1777 to become Donne's partner, and carried on his speciality. Henry Southey was his student. He had one daughter. The second son David Martineau (four sons, six daughter) was a dyer who went into the sugar business. The third, Peter Finch Martineau (four sons, two daughter) was a dyer in Norwich. The fourth son, John Martineau of Stamford Hill, had 14 children, including John Martineau the engineer. The fifth son Thomas is mentioned below.
Family of Thomas Martineau
Thomas Martineau, a manufacturer of textiles, was the fifth son of David Martineau II. He was a Unitarian, a deacon of the Octagon Chapel from 1797. He married Elizabeth Rankin (8 October 1772 – 26 August 1848). They originally lived in Norwich and had eight children. Thomas and Elizabeth are the paternal great great great great great grandparents of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Thomas and Elizabeth Martineau's daughter was Elizabeth, who married Dr Thomas Greenhow, a reforming doctor in Newcastle. Subsequently, the child of Elizabeth and Dr Greenhow was Frances who married into the Unitarian Lupton family of Leeds. Frances was an educationalist and worked to expand educational opportunities for girls. Frances is the great great great grandmother of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Thomas Martineau and Elizabeth Rankin's son, Robert, (1798-1870) became a magistrate, town councillor and then Mayor of Birmingham in 1846. Throughout 1846-47, Robert's sister, political journalist Harriet, occasionally resided with Robert and their mother, Elizabeth, in Birmingham - the years in which Robert was mayor. At that time, Robert's mayoral status had resulted in his hiring of Birmingham builder John Barnsley to build himself a mansion in Edgbaston, which consisted of a large wing for his mother and another for his own family. Barnsley had also built most of Birmingham's grand Victorian and Edwardian public buildings. Robert, his mother Elizabeth (who had died at the Edgbaston mansion on 26th August 1848), and his sister Harriet, along with other members of the Martineau family, are buried together in the Martineau vault at the Key Hill Cemetery, Birmingham. Robert's wife was Sarah Smith (d 1874).
Robert's son, Sir Thomas Martineau (4 November 1828 – 28 July 1893), was Mayor of Birmingham 1884-7. He was born on an estate on Bristol Road, Birmingham, (now Martineau Gardens) on 4 November 1828. Thomas was mayor of Birmingham from 1884 to 1887. On 11 June 1887, the press reported that Queen Victoria came to Birmingham to lay the foundation stone of the Victoria Law Courts and that, (having played host to the monarch), "Mr Martineau, a nephew of Harriet Martineau, will rise "Sir Thomas".....". Only days later, Martineau was indeed called to Windsor to be formally knighted by the queen. It was his final year in office. Sir Thomas was instrumental in getting the Welsh Water Bill through Parliament and getting Birmingham made an Assizes town. He died on 28 July 1893 and is buried alongside his family at Key Hill Cemetery. Sir Thomas was the uncle of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain - who had also been Lord Mayor of Birmingham, in 1915.
The brother of Sir Thomas - and also the son of mayor Robert - was Robert Francis (16 May 1831 – 15 December 1909). Robert Francis was an alderman in Birmingham, secretary of the Birmingham and Midland Institute, chairman of the Technical School committee, trustee to Mason Science College, and then a member of the council of the University of Birmingham when it evolved from Mason College. He and his family were the third generation of Martineaus to live at Highfield Road, Kings Norton, Edgbaston.
The sixth child of Thomas and Elizabeth Martineau was Harriet (12 June 1802 – 27 June 1876); the political author and a pioneer sociologist. Their seventh child, James (21 April 1805 – 11 January 1900), was a religious philosopher and a professor at Manchester New College.
The Martineau-Lupton clan counted many aldermen and lord mayors, in both Leeds and Birmingham, amongst their kin. Their Unitarian faith and Liberal (Unionist) political beliefs resulted in their combined commitment to many national concerns; Sir Raymond Unwin's concept of the "Garden Suburb" greatly interested aldermen Robert Francis Martineau (City of Birmingham) and his cousin, Francis Martineau Lupton (City of Leeds). International issues were also of great concern to the family; Robert Francis Martineau welcomed the American abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, to his home when the American visited Birmingham on 7 July 1877 and two days later, Martineau's relative, Joseph Lupton, had Garrison as a guest at his Leeds house from 9–15 July.
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